PITTSBURGH (AP) — Although rookie Dillon Gee may not be perfect his record still is.
Gee remained undefeated, Jose Reyes homered among his three hits and the New York Mets won for the fifth time in six games, 8-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Gee became the first Mets’ rookie starter to improve to 7-0, and New York has won all nine of his starts. He allowed one run and eight hits in a career-high eight innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
“He really pitched great again,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before deadpanning, “but we finally figured out a flaw: He can’t bunt. We’ve got to work on that.”
Gee bunting into a force play during New York’s five-run fourth inning aside, he won his fifth straight outing and is the majors’ first rookie starter to open 7-0 since 2006, when Jered Weaver started 9-0 for the Los Angeles Angels.
Gee has allowed one earned run or less in three of his past five starts and has allowed only one run over his past two outings combined.
“I can’t say enough good things about the job he’s done on that mound, controlling his emotions, keeping himself in the game and just making pitches,” Collins said. “He’s been really amazing to watch.”
Gee also beat the Pirates on May 30 in New York.
“I was hoping we would adjust better this time,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s 7-0 now. He got us twice. He’s in a good place right now. You’re going to have to beat him by stretching at-bats out and we weren’t able to do that.”
Reyes and Josh Thole went 3 for 5, and Angel Pagan had two hits and scored twice for New York.
The Pirates’ Charlie Morton had his worst start of the season — though he was the victim of some infield hits, shoddy defense and bad bounces. Morton (6-3) lasted a season-low four-plus innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) and nine hits.
“Charlie didn’t throw ball that bad,” Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. “We made a couple of errors to put some runners in scoring position and that made it tougher on him. You just have to mark it down as a bad day for us.”
Pittsburgh has lost two straight since reaching .500 in June for the first time since 2005.
Six of the first seven Mets to come to bat in the fourth had hits, including RBI singles by Lucas Duda and Thole and a two-run single by Justin Turner.
Recalled from the minors on Friday, Duda added a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Reyes, who made his major league debut exactly eight years ago as a 19-year-old, had a 12-game hitting streak snapped on Thursday. He singled twice and hit his second homer, leading off the sixth with a line drive over the 21-foot wall in right.
“I was a little concerned about him (when the streak ended Thursday),” Collins joked. “I told him today I was taking a chance putting him back in there.”
The Mets scored an unearned run in the first inning after loading the bases without a hit. Pagan’s groundout scored Turner.
Pittsburgh began the bottom of the inning with three consecutive singles. Andrew McCutchen drove in Jose Tabata, but from that point through the seventh, Gee faced only one over the minimum.
It was the second consecutive game in which the Pirates did not have an extra-base hit.
That continued a trend by Gee, who has allowed nine extra-base hits in his nine starts — and he still hasn’t shown his best stuff, he said.
“There’s definitely still a lot of work to be done, I feel like,” Gee said.
“I don’t want to look into (the streak) too much,” he added. “I definitely feel like I’m gaining more confidence every time out. But it’s hard work here, and I have to keep working to maintain where I’m at and gain a little better, too.”
Notes: The teams opened their second four-game series against each other over the past 12 days. … Pirates SS Ronny Cedeno’s error in the first inning snapped a 44-game errorless streak. … Mets OF Jason Bay was given a second consecutive day off as he works to break an 0-for-23 slump. Bay, PNC Park’s all-time leader in home runs and RBIs, played for the Pirates from 2003-08. He has yet to play against his former team, but Collins said he will be in the lineup on Saturday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)