The Times West Virginian

Pirates

September 27, 2012

Bucs lose, eliminated from playoff race

NEW YORK — David Wright broke the New York Mets’ record for hits and Jeremy Hefner bounced back from a horrendous start in a 6-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday night that eliminated the Pirates from playoff contention.

Ruben Tejada tied a career high with four hits, including two RBI singles, and Scott Hairston doubled home a run as the Mets took advantage of some shoddy Pittsburgh defense to win for the fifth time in six games.

Jeff Locke (0-3), still searching for his first major league win after nine starts, was chased in the fourth inning. Pittsburgh fell eight games behind St. Louis in the race for the second NL wild card with seven to play.

Tied for the NL Central lead a week after the All-Star game, the Pirates have faded quickly in the second half for the second consecutive year. They have dropped 19 of 25 and must go 5-2 the rest of the way to avoid a 20th straight losing season.

Earlier Wednesday, club president Frank Coonelly said manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington will be back next season.

Wright reached on an infield single during a four-run third inning for his 1,419th hit, snapping a tie with Ed Kranepool atop the team’s career list.

The slugger pulled into second base thanks to a throwing error on the play and his achievement was shown on the Citi Field scoreboard. The Mets played a few of Wright’s highlights on the big video board, including his first major league hit. He received a warm ovation and quickly waved twice to the skimpy crowd of 22,890 before flashing a wide smile toward the New York dugout.

A six-time All-Star, Wright accomplished the feat in 1,256 games from 2004-12. Kranepool played in 1,853 games from 1962-79.

Kranepool was at Citi Field on Wednesday, and the two posed for pictures together during batting practice.

Mets fans get another chance to enjoy a possible nice moment when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tries for his 20th win Thursday afternoon against Pittsburgh in New York’s home finale.

“Obviously, there’s something that looks pretty about that number,” said Dickey, looking to improve his Cy Young Award credentials.

Hefner (3-7) faced seven batters without recording an out in his previous start, a 16-1 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday. This time, he was on top of his game.

The rookie right-hander allowed only three harmless singles — two to former New York City prep star Pedro Alvarez — over seven outstanding innings. Hefner matched a career high with seven strikeouts and walked just one. He also dropped down two sacrifice bunts that led to runs.

Jeurys Familia finished up with two hitless innings.

In addition to his record-breaking hit, Wright lined a clean single to center in the fourth. Daniel Murphy and Kelly Shoppach each had an RBI single for New York. Andres Torres had three hits and scored twice.

Pirates star Andrew McCutchen, chasing the NL batting title, went 0 for 4.

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