Doubleheaders always bring the potential of unique accomplishments, and Tuesday’s contests between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets brought some of those into play.
Both games ended the same, a 3-1 Pirates victory giving the home team nine consecutive wins over the Mets, the most in franchise history.
Often times in doubleheaders, relief pitchers appear in one game, but both Mark Melancon and Neftali Feliz appeared in each of the victories.
Feliz allowed the lone run in Game 1, but came back a few hours later and struck out three Mets batters. Melancon on the other hand earned both saves tying him former Pirate Jeanmar Gomez (now with the Philadelphia Phillies) for the National League lead.
Melancon retired the side in order to secure both victories and ended game two with a strikeout of former Pirate Neil Walker.
“That was wild. A lot of fun” Melancon told Root Sports after the game’s end.
Forgotten in the shuffle of Walker’s return to Pittsburgh was Jonathon Niese (6-2) pitching against his former team.
For the second time this season, Niese pitched seven shutout innings. After a below average night with ground ball outs against the Miami Marlins his last time out, Niese had 14 in this game and allowed six total baserunners.
David Freese started the first game, returning from hand discomfort and hit an RBI single off Mets starter Steven Matz (7-2). Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single in the fifth inning to increase the Pirate lead to 2-0.
Also returning to PNC Park was Antonio Bastardo who was a member of the Pirates major league roster for all of 2015. Jordy Mercer decided to greet him with a home run off the left-handed reliever, his second of the season and first at PNC Park since Aug. 31, 2014.
Curtis Granderson scored the lone Mets home run with a solo home run, his 10th in the eighth inning.
In Game 2, Juan Nicasio (5-4) got the ball for the Pirates and allowed one run in five innings while throwing 89 pitches. The run came on a Kevin Plawecki RBI single. Nicasio was able to get his strikeout pitch going and had seven on the night.
A two-run second inning allowed for the Pirates to create separation. First, Cole Figueroa, starting for the second time this season, recorded an RBI ground out and Chris Stewart then followed with a single.
After Plawecki’s single, it was John Jaso who responded with a double, his 10th of the season, to score Stewart,
Tony Watson pitched a scoreless seventh inning in this game. In a small sample size, June has been a rough month for Watson who came into play Tuesday having allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings, good for a 27.00 ERA.
While it was not a good day in regards to having two losses, Walker was recognized as he stepped towards the batter’s both prior to his first at-bat in each game.
The PNC Park jumbotron recorded a quick highlight video to one of Walker’s plate music songs Lazaretto by Jack White.
Photo credit: @Pirates