Liriano shines in Pittsburgh debut, Pirates crush Mets
Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Jose Tabata went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, an RBI double and three runs scored as the Pittsburgh Pirates received a sharp season-debut from Francisco Liriano in a 11-2 win over the New York Mets in the third test of a four-game set at Citi Field.
The Pirates recorded 16 hits, their second straight day in double figures, and tagged Mets starter Jonathon Niese (2-4) for five runs in the fifth inning to break the contest open.
Jody Mercer hit a pair of solo homers, Mike McKenry knocked in three runs, Clint Barmes drove in a pair and Andrew McCutchen had an RBI and scored twice in the Pirates' second straight win.
It was a successful first outing in a Pittsburgh uniform for Liriano (1-0), who struck out nine over 5 1/3 innings and allowed just a run on six hits. The lefty signed with the Pirates in February, but was in the middle of recovering from a broken right arm suffered in December.
"I tried not to get too excited," Liriano said. "I didn't want to try to do too much."
Niese's struggles continued, charged with the loss for the fourth time in his last five starts. He gave up eight runs on eight hits and lasted only 4 1/3 innings.
"I'm not really deceiving anybody right now," Niese said. "With my arm angle being down, I think they can pick the ball up a lot sooner, and that's why I think they're not chasing some of the pitches that they normally have chased. Hopefully I can get it back."
New York only had six hits, with Marlon Byrd driving in the only run on an infield single.
The Pirates gave Liriano plenty of support early, starting in the second when they jumped in front 1-0 off a bases-loaded RBI single from Barmes.
They tacked on three more runs an inning later as Starling Marte led off the third with a single, moved to second on a ground ball out from Mercer and sprinted home on McCutchen's soft liner into center. Pittsburgh's edge moved to 4-0 when Tabata clubbed a two-run homer over the left center field wall.
Liriano struck out four of the first five batters he faced, and the Mets managed just a single base runner through the first four innings. They fell completely out of it when Niese imploded in the fifth.
Mercer sent a solo blast over the center field wall and after walking McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez, Niese served up an RBI double to Tabata, concluding his outing.
Scott Atchinson took over on the mound and wasn't much better as McKenry reached him for a two-run single and Barmes capped the five-run frame with an RBI single up the middle to give Pirates a 9-0 lead.
New York finally got on the board in the sixth when Byrd came up with runners on corners and pushed a run home with a weak ground ball down the third base line.
Three straight one-out singles in the seventh pushed the Pirates' lead to 10-1 on an RBI hit from McKenry and Mercer's second homer of the game an inning later gave Pittsburgh a 10-run cushion.
Following a 47-minute rain delay, Brown hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth to cap the scoring.
New York has dropped seven of its last nine home games ... Pirates catcher Russell Martin sat for a second straight day with neck stiffness ... Liriano was activated from the disabled list prior to the game. To make room on the roster, Pittsburgh optioned Duke Weller to Triple-A Indianapolis ... The Pirates were 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
05/12 01:17:00 ET