PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Following a big night on the mound, New York Mets starter Mike Pelfrey gave all the credit to his defense.
Pelfrey pitched seven shutout innings to lead the New York Mets to their fourth straight victory, a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
• The Mets scored two runs in the first inning, handing Mike Pelfry all the runs he and the Mets would need to defeat the Pirates.
• Pelfry pitched seven scoreless innings, earning his 11th win and improving to 9-2 in his last 15 starts.
• New York has won seven of its last nine games, including four straight.
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But the right-hander received some help.Center fielder Carlos Beltran threw out Adam LaRoche at home plate in the seventh inning with the Mets leading 2-0. David Wright turned a nifty double play in the second with two runners on by stepping on third base and firing the ball to first baseman Carlos Delgado."Beltran's throw was huge," Pelfrey said. "You couldn't ask for a better throw. It was right on the money. David also turned the big double play. When you know you're guys are going to make plays behind you, it helps."Jose Reyes and Argenis Reyes had two hits each for the first-place Mets, who started the night a game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.Pelfrey (11-8), who had a 5.83 ERA in five starts over the past month, was stellar in his first career start against Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old allowed seven hits and didn't walk a batter."He did a good job," New York manager Jerry Manuel said. "He got the big outs when he needed them. It's a sign that he's evolving into a quality pitcher. He doesn't panic when he gets in trouble. He's maturing into the type of pitcher that can get the big outs."Pittsburgh hit into two double plays against Pelfrey and wasted leadoff hits in the sixth and seventh inning."He was tough on us," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said.Manuel lifted Pelfrey after just 98 pitches. He said it was a move designed to protect Pelfrey, who has pitched 145 innings in his third professional season after throwing 152 2/3 innings in 2007."Because he's in unchartered waters, I want to keep his innings down," Manuel said.Pittsburgh made things interesting against New York's makeshift bullpen. Jack Wilson led off the eighth with a home run against reliever Duaner Sanchez. The Pirates put two more runners on in the inning against Pedro Feliciano but Adam LaRoche grounded out.Aaron Heilman walked a batter in the ninth, but got Wilson to pop out to end the game for his third save.The last time Heilman faced the Pirates, the right-hander allowed three runs in the ninth and blew the save in a 7-5 loss Monday at New York."That's the good thing about being a reliever. You're going to get another chance," Heilman said. "It feels good to go out there and nail down the victory."The Mets put their first four runners on base and scored twice in the first inning against Jason Davis (1-2). David Wright had an RBI single, and Argenis Reyes scored on a wild pitch."I just left a couple of balls up, and they did what they're supposed to do with them," Davis said.Davis settled down after the first, and at one point retired 13 of 14 hitters. He went seven innings and allowed two runs and six hits.The 28-year-old right-hander, who signed with Pittsburgh toward the end of spring training and was called up to the major leagues on July 27, has given up two earned runs in 13 innings in two starts since joining the rotation. Pittsburgh has lost both games."The first few hitters, he wasn't on track," Russell said. "Then he settled down and threw the ball nicely the rest of the game. He gave us a chance to win the game."Adam LaRoche, in his second game following a stint on the DL, had three hits for Pittsburgh, which has lost three of four and dropped a season-low 12 games below .500.The Pirates offense sputtered for the second straight game. They also scored one run in a loss Cincinnati on Thursday."It's obviously disappointing that we're not scoring runs," Russell said.Pittsburgh's offense has struggled to regroup in the weeks following the trades of outfielders Xavier Nady and Jason Bay. The Pirates have scored just 25 runs in their past 10 games."We just didn't execute tonight," Wilson said. "We've done that the whole year. It's just been lately where we haven't been able to get the big hit."
The Mets won for the fourth time in their past 12 games at PNC Park. ... New York's Nos. 3-9 hitters went 4-for-25. ... The Mets are 12-3 in Pelfrey's past 15 starts. ... Jose Reyes has 50 multi-hit games. He leads the National League with 158 hits. ... Wright has a 10-game hitting streak. ... Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche is 5-for-33 since coming over in a deadline-day trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... The crowd of 36,418, buoyed by a post-game concert and fireworks, was Pittsburgh's sixth sellout of the season.