Bulled: Pen Fails Mets in 6-3 Loss

David Cone pitched well tonight, proving that his outing in Puerto Rico was a fluke. Unfortunately the Mets bullpen pitched tonight as if they were still pitching in the hitter-friendly confines of Hiram Bithorn Stadium, giving up four runs that proved to be fatal as the Mets lost for the seventh time in eight games, losing 6-3 on a unusually warm spring night in Pittsburgh.

Cone quickly got the first two Pirate hitters out but then fell behind in the count on Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez made him pay, hitting an opposite field home run. He then gave up a double to Randall Simon before striking out Reggie Sanders to keep the damage at only one run.

The Pirates scored again in the second when Cone walked Kenny Lofton, saw him steal second and then when he gave up a single to right to Jason Kendall, Jeromy Burnitz's throw to the plate actually beat Lofton handily, but instead of sliding, Lofton went in standing up and was able to dislodge the ball from Mike Piazza's glove. 2-0, Pirates.

Piazza got the burden of hitting his first home run of the year off of his shoulders, tattooing a Jeff Suppan offering well past the 389-mark in left field. It was a solo home run and cut the Pirate lead to 2-1.

The Mets threatened to have a big inning in the sixth but ultimately were only able to tie the game. Roberto Alomar lashed a single to left-center. Cliff Floyd then hit a hard ball towards first base, his bat shattering and the barrel skittering towards first base. Pirates first baseman Randall Simon, aware of the barrel of the bat flying towards him as well as the ball, took his eye off the ball as he tried to backhand it and the ball wound up deflecting off of his foot and then rolled into foul territory. Alomar easily went to third. Then the momentum sputtered as Piazza hit a double-play ground ball, scoring Alomar, but effectively killing the chance of a rally. Mo Vaughn walked but Ty Wigginton then grounded out to end the inning.

Cone was finished in the sixth after giving upa single to Reggie Sanders to start the inning and the Mets brought in Jaime Cerda, who then gave up the go-ahead run, balking Sanders to second, then giving up an infield single to Jack Wilson and a single to pinch-hitter Kevin Young. 3-2 Pirates.

The Pirates jumped on David Weathers for three runs, with Adam Hyzdu doubling in two runs and Pokey Reese doubling in another to make it 6-2.

Vaughn made it 6-3 with a solo shot leading off the ninth, hitting a blast that went over the right field bleachers and into the water beyond. It was his second of the year, but was not enough to bring the Mets back into the game.


-Thursday's series-ending game will be between Jae Seo (0-1, 5.23) and former Met Jeff D'Amico (1-1, 5.79)

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