NEW YORK (AP) - Jordany Valdespin had to take his medicine - via a 94 mph fastball.
The New York Mets' 11-2 loss to the Pirates on Saturday stung for everybody else, too.
``I think that today, we didn't do anything well,' David Wright said after Francisco Liriano struck out nine and pitched into the sixth inning to win his debut with Pittsburgh.
Jordy Mercer homered twice and Jose Tabata had four hits, including a two-run shot for the Pirates, who teed off on left-hander Jonathon Niese, finally chasing him during a big fifth inning.
Valdespin was hit by a pitch with the Pirates up big, one night after he admired a home run for a bit longer than the Pirates would have preferred.
The Mets have struggled to score at home, but Niese (2-4) would have put any team in a hole. He tied a career high by allowing eight runs, and walked more batters than he struck out for the fourth time in eight starts this season.
After the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said he was going to return to putting sluggers Ike Davis back in the cleanup spot and have Lucas Duda back in the lineup regularly.
``If we're going to be successful, we're going to need Ike and we're going to need Lucas to do what I think everybody knows they're capable of,' Wright said. ``Lucas, and especially Ike, have a track record of driving in runs. ... A hit here, a hit there and Ike's confidence starts soaring.'
The Mets could use it after Liriano (1-0) set them down with ease. Returning from a broken non-throwing arm, he allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings and 90 pitches. He gave up six hits and two walks. The Pirates jumped on Niese early, and finally drove him out of the game in the fifth.
Niese, who had never lost to the Pirates before, gave up eight hits and three walks with a strikeout before leaving with one out in the fifth. He also allowed eight runs July 27 at Arizona last season.
Mercer hit a solo shot after Wright made a nifty barehanded play at third base to throw out Starling Marte, and Tabata hit an RBI double off the base of the wall in center field.
Michael McKenry followed with a two-run single off reliever Scott Atchison and Clint Barmes followed with an RBI single before Liriano popped foul to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, reliever Bryan Morris hit pinch-hitter Valdespin with his first pitch. The night before, Valdespin hit a long home run and took a long time admiring its trajectory. As Valdespin prepared to take his base Saturday, Pirates catcher McKenry appeared to turn and say something to him, but Valdespin just walked to first.
When he returned to the dugout after the inning, he threw his helmet in the corner and stripped off his batting gloves. Over on the Pittsburgh side, Morris received fist bumps from manager Clint Hurdle and plenty of his teammates.
The Pirates didn't acknowledge the situation afterward, and Valdespin said through team spokesman Jay Horwitz that he considered the issue closed.
``I mean, I'm sure it hurts,' Wright said. ``I've been hit. It hurts and nobody likes that.'
Wright, who emphasized that the clubhouse supported Valdespin, was pressed several times about the criticism his teammate has received.
``I think some of it's fair, some of it is unfair,' Wright said. ``He doesn't need to change the person that he is. Maybe toning some of it down would be appropriate.'
Said Collins: ``I want to close the book on Jordany. He was aware of what might happen, and they hit him. He's not naive. It's part of the game. I respect the way he handled it.'
NOTES: Saturday was Banner Day at Citi Field. Fans trooped Mets-themed banners around the warning track before the game, in the second year of revived tradition that had gone from 1963-1996 before it stopped. ... The Pirates have homered in 12 of their last 13 games and 19 of 22. ... New York has scored 31 runs in its last 12 home games. The 11 runs they allowed were a season-worst at home. ... Pittsburgh right-hander Jeanmar Gomez (2-0) is expected to make his third start of the season in the finale of the four-game series on Sunday. He'll face Mets RHP Matt Harvey (4-0). ``The bullpen's shot,' Collins said, ``but we're safe tomorrow with Matt going.' ... Marlon Byrd hit a tough dribbler down the third base line in the sixth for an RBI single. ... The game was delayed 47 minutes by rain in the middle of the ninth. When play resumed, Andrew Brown led off with a solo home run off left-hander Tony Watson.
The Associated Press News Service
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