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By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Paul Maholm’s record isn’t good.  In fact, based on wins and losses alone, it would be easy to say that the Pirates’ left-hander has had a rough year.  To those following the club, though, we know that one thing, and one thing only, can be blamed for the shallow number of victories:  lack of run support.
Tonight, Maholm didn’t get much run support, but his seven innings of shutout baseball kept the opposing offense in check, and his teammates came up with enough offense to fend off the pesky New York Mets, winning the game 3-1 at PNC Park.
Maholm won his third game of the season, giving up just three hits and two walks through his seven innings of work, lowering his ERA to a miniscule 3.12 for the season.  Mike Pelfrey, who pitched a solid game for Mets, took the loss, giving up two runs on four hits, falling to 3-5 for the year.
The Pirates got on the board in the first inning.  After a Jose Tabata leadoff single, Xavier Paul smacked a base hit into the outfield.  Tabata was thrown out at third on the play, or so it seemed.  Moments later, Tabata was ruled safe at third base, as it was ruled that the Mets’ Jose Reyes interfered with the Pirates’ left-fielder on the base path.  Reyes was charged with an error, and the Buccos had runners at first and third with no outs. 
The very next batter, Neil Walker, hammered a single up the middle, scoring Tabata to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.  Although the inning fell apart after that, the Pirates still took the early advantage.
Both pitchers dominated the early innings from then on, with a slight hiccup from Pelfrey in the fifth inning.  Brandon Wood, who made a dazzling defensive play in the first inning for a double play, hammered a solo homerun to left field over Jason Bay’s head to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
As is with any Bucco game, no lead was safe.  Jose Veras took over for Maholm in the eighth inning, giving up a run on one hit and issued a walk before Clint Hurdle pulled him from the game without recording a single out.  Tim Wood came in and retired the Mets quickly. 
With two runners on and no outs, Reyes smacked a sinking liner to left field.  Tabata made a sliding snag, then throwing over to first base to double up the Mets.  Ruben Tejada did tag and score from third base, cutting the Pirates’ lead in half at the end of the top of the eighth.
The Buccos got that run back in the bottom of the inning.  After back-to-back singles by Ronny Cedeno and Andrew McCutchen, Tabata slapped a ball down the third base line, beating out the throw and loading the bases.  After Paul struck out, Walker drew a walk, allowing Cedeno to score. 
The Pirates’ lead of 3-1 was more than enough for Joel Hanrahan, who closed out the game with relative ease, recording his 17th save of the season.
Despite sitting out the majority of the game, McCutchen extended his current hit streak to twelve games.  Tabata was the only Pirate to record a multi-hit effort, while Walker tallied two more RBI’s. 
With the victory tonight, the Pirates earned a split with the Mets, while also finishing out the home stand with a winning record.  The Buccos went 6-4 in series against the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mets.  This is a very impressive stretch here by the Buccos, as they are the types of series that build confidence in the clubhouse.  The Pirates have proven that, when they play well, they can beat the league’s top teams. 
Immediately following the game, the Pirates jumped on a plane to Houston for a three game series with the Astros.  Jeff Karstens will get the start for the Buccos tomorrow, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05pm.   
Record Vs. Mets: 4-4
Record Vs. N.L. East: 8-12
Record At Home: 15-18
Overall Record: 32-33
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!