Updated: 9/16/10 6:51 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP) – In a sloppy September game between non-contending teams, Angel Pagan had the big hit.
The rest of the game was marred by errors and shaky pitching as the Mets and Pirates lurched to the finish in their disappointing seasons.
Pagan capped New York’s seven-run fourth inning with a tiebreaking two-run single and the Mets handed Pittsburgh another road loss with an 8-7 victory Wednesday night.
The Pirates, who dropped to 15-58 on the road, made two costly errors while blowing a five-run lead. One was a head-scratcher by catcher Chris Snyder, whose dropped throw opened the door to the tying and go-ahead runs later in the inning.
“I mean the guy’s leading baseball in fielding percentage as a catcher, drops the ball at the plate. It shocked all of us,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “We had a nice lead, and just couldn’t hold it.”
The Mets also lost 20-year-old right-hander Jenrry Mejia, who left in the third inning with an acute shoulder strain. He went for an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Whatever is wrong with Mejia could impact his role on the 2011 Mets. He made 30 relief appearances for New York before going to the minors to get stretched out, then got hurt during his third big league start.
Mejia had a shoulder injury in the minor leagues before, but pitching coach Dan Warthen said Wednesday night’s problem was different. Initially, Warthen and catcher Henry Blanco thought Mejia had landed funny and possibly injured his leg, but the pitcher said the back of his shoulder hurt.
“We’ll see what they say tomorrow and make some decisions accordingly,” manager Jerry Manuel said.
Jose Reyes hit his 10th homer in the sixth inning for the Mets, who have won three straight.
The Pirates helped New York out with their sloppy fielding in the big fourth inning. Ike Davis and pinch-hitter Mike Hessman each had run-scoring hits for the Mets.
Paul Maholm (7-15) lasted just 3 2-3 innings for Pittsburgh, which could threaten the 1963 Mets’ record for worst road mark (17-64) in a 162-game season.
Raul Valdes (3-3) came in after Mejia left with one out. Valdes allowed four runs in 1 2-3 innings and Hisanori Takahashi, the last of seven Mets pitchers, surrendered a homer to Andrew McCutchen on his first pitch before retiring three straight for his seventh save in seven chances.
Seven consecutive batters reached after Pagan led off the fourth with a routine grounder. He came up again with two down and singled to left-center to put the Mets ahead 7-5.
“Angel has had two tremendous seasons here back to back, playing injury-free,” Manuel said. “He’s coming into his own. He’s such a tremendous athlete.”
Pagan is hitting .292 with 65 RBIs and 33 steals this season, after hitting .306 in 2009.
The Pirates let the tying run score when shortstop Ronny Cedeno mishandled a one-out grounder by pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias. Before Cedeno’s miscue, Snyder dropped a throw from third baseman Pedro Alvarez on Ruben Tejada’s grounder, letting Davis and Nick Evans score.
“Everything happened but the ball going in my glove,” Snyder said. “I wish I could give you something good to put down and make it seem right, but I can’t. It’s terrible. It’s inexcusable. It’s embarrassing to me. That’s a play I make 99 times out of a hundred.
“Well, I guess now it’s 98 times.”
Maholm was charged with seven runs, just two earned, and seven hits. He walked two and struck out one.
“You have a 5-0 lead,” Maholm said. “You have to be able to make it stand up.”
The Mets had their own fielding problems in Pittsburgh’s four-run fourth.
Snyder came around on McCutchen’s two-run single when Blanco caught the ball up the line toward third, but could only lunge at him coming home. He missed, but forced Snyder wide around him and past home.
Both players dove for the plate, but when Blanco pushed himself up with his glove hand, the ball popped loose because it had been snared in the top of his webbing, and Snyder scored easily.
The Pirates have lost their only six games at Citi Field. They get another chance Thursday when this four-game series wraps up.
NOTES: Pirates pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit delivered an RBI double off Bobby Parnell in the top of the eighth. … It was Filipino Heritage Night at Citi Field. Costumed dancers performed in the outfield before the game. … The Mets honored their minor league prospects who won organizational awards, having all eight of them throw out first pitches simultaneously. … Valdes’ win gave the Mets 22 by rookie pitchers this season. … Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez was shown on the big screen operating a camera during a pitching change in the eighth inning.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)