(Sports Network) - Lefty Jonathon Niese tries to end a six-start drought today
when the New York Mets play the rubber match of a three-game series with the
host Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The 25-year-old Ohio native, chosen by the Mets in the seventh round of the
2005 draft, is in the initial season of a five-year, $25.27 million contract
he signed after winning 11 times through 27 appearances in 2011.
Niese began this season with wins against Atlanta and Philadelphia in April,
but has since gone more than a month without a victory and losing twice,
including a 14-5 interleague decision at Toronto on May 18.
He allowed eight runs on eight hits in just three innings against the Blue
Jays, allowing four home runs and a pair of walks.
Niese has a 1-0 record in two career starts against the Pirates.
For Pittsburgh, righty Charlie Morton goes for victory No. 3 in his eighth
start of the season.
The 28-year-old native of New Jersey, who won 10 of 20 decisions in 2011, has
tossed 39 1/3 innings across seven outings while surrendering 48 hits and 19
The Pirates are 2-5 in his seven starts, including a 6-0 loss at Detroit on
May 18 in which he allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings.
His last win came May 12 against Houston and he's 0-1 in four lifetime
meetings with the Mets, posting a 4.76 earned run average in 17 innings.
On Tuesday, a pair of eighth-inning runs supported a strong outing from R.A.
Dickey as the Mets defeated the Pirates, 3-2.
The game was tied entering the eighth, but Lucas Duda delivered an RBI single
off Juan Cruz (1-1) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis scored on an error by third baseman
Pedro Alvarez to make it 3-1.
Dickey (6-1) recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts, did not walk a batter and
allowed just one run over seven innings to earn the win.
"A lot of times you throw (the knuckleball) and it does what it's going to
do," Dickey said. "Tonight, mechanically, I was in a place where I could get
it to do a couple of different things where I wanted to and that was the
Mike Nickeas added an RBI single for New York, which had lost seven of 11
coming in, including the series opener Monday.
James McDonald countered Dickey with eight strikeouts and also gave up just
one run over seven frames, while Andrew McCutchen drove in a pair of runs for
"Tough loss. Everybody played hard, played some good defense at times,"
McDonald said. "My team did what I asked from them and that's play hard behind
me and that's all you can ask for."
New York and Pittsburgh split eight meetings in 2011, with each team winning
twice on the other's home field.
The Sports Network