For the first time in his five-year career, Steven Matz needed no help from the bullpen.
Matz pitched an efficient five-hitter for his first complete game in 90 major league starts, and the Mets got home runs from Michael Conforto and J. D. Davis in a 3-0 victory on Saturday night against the sinking Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.
“It’s really cool. Honestly, this is what I try to do every game, so I finally did it,” Matz said with a grin.
Matz (6-6) struck out seven and walked none, throwing just 99 pitches in his first win since June 8 against Colorado. Making his third start since a brief stint in the bullpen, he handed the Pirates, who are last in the National League Central, their seventh straight loss and 13th in 15 games since the All-Star break.
“To do it in 99 pitches is something else; that doesn’t happen too often,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said. “That was tremendous. That was unbelievable. We really needed him to do that.”
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was around for only the first three batters of a contest that took only 2 hours 10 minutes. He was ejected by the plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Starling Marte was called out on strikes to end the top of the first inning.
It appeared Hurdle came onto the field to escort Marte away and make sure he would not be tossed. But Hurdle said something to Wendelstedt from a distance, and then was given the thumb.
“I just felt that two of our first three hitters in the game got clipped on called third strikes,” Hurdle said. “I wanted to stop a trend. That was basically it.”
Pirates starter Trevor Williams (3-4) went seven innings and held the Mets hitless until Davis doubled off the right-center wall with two outs in the fifth.
Conforto sent a changeup into the second deck in right field for a solo shot in the sixth, his 19th homer of the season. Davis added his 10th home run, a two-run drive to center in the seventh, after Pittsburgh shortstop Jung Ho Kang let Todd Frazier’s pop-up drop for a single with one out.
“Unfortunately for us, I was the one that blinked first,” Williams said.
Matz went right at the Pirates, throwing 67 strikes. He was aided by two timely double plays, including when the Mets went around the horn on a grounder by Melky Cabrera with runners at the corners to end the sixth.
Three innings later, Matz pounded his hand into his glove after retiring the All-Star slugger Josh Bell on a routine grounder for the final out.
“They were really aggressive, and my sinker and slider were a pretty good combo today to get some quick outs,” Matz said. “The changeup got me back in some counts. So I just think, really mixed everything. The guys were making great plays behind me.”
The Mets (49-55) are still in fourth place in the N.L. East, but they have won three in a row and are 9-5 since the All-Star break.
“Let’s be as scrappy as we can and try to claw our way back into this thing,” Callaway said.
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