NEW YORK (AP) - His team had just unraveled late in the game again, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins was seething.
``I'm sick of trying to describe seventh innings - about five in a row,' the fiery Collins said Wednesday night after dressing down his club following a 9-3 loss to Pittsburgh. ``I'm running out of ideas here.'
Kevin Correia became the first eight-game winner in the majors and the pesky Pirates scratched out five infield singles in a five-run seventh, sending the frustrated Collins into a postgame rant.
During the decisive inning, first baseman Daniel Murphy, third baseman Willie Harris and pitcher Chris Capuano all made clumsy mistakes on defense. Plus, the Mets got a tough break on a missed call at third.
``Do we play hard? Absolutely. That's not the issue,' said Collins, in his first season as Mets manager. ``It's about execution. We have to add on some points when we get the lead and I'm not looking for home runs. I'm looking for quality at_bats. We can't make careless mistakes. We do. We give up at_bats. We can't do that. We don't have that kind of team.'
Andrew McCutchen made a dazzling catch in deep right-center and Correia (8-4) pitched six poised innings to help the Pirates improve to 17-14 on the road - matching last season's win total away from home.
``That was a target area going in, an area of attention, and our guys have responded very well to it,' new manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pittsburgh was a major league-worst 17-64 away from home last year, but this season has brought quite a turnaround. Pitching is the prime reason, and Correia is a big part of that.
The 30-year-old right-hander, signed to an $8 million, two-year contract in December after spending the past two seasons with San Diego, is 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts on the road.
``I like to wait until the end before I start looking at any of that stuff,' Correia said. ``Unless they post 'em in the Bassmaster magazine or a surfer mag, I don't read a lot of sports besides those two - or Golf Digest.'
Pittsburgh starters have gone 13 consecutive games without allowing more than two earned runs. That's the longest streak in the majors this season and the club's longest since a 14-game run in September 1968, according to STATS LLC.
Xavier Paul stroked a pair of RBI singles after entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. McCutchen had three hits, legging out two infield singles, after going 0 for 7 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the series.
Capuano (3-6) was a hard-luck loser after carrying a three-hit shutout into the seventh. He never retired another batter and was pulled after giving up five consecutive hits - four that didn't leave the infield.
``We were cruising at that point. It just goes to show you it can happen quick and before we knew it, they put a few runs on the board,' Capuano said.
The Pirates have won seven of 10 road series and can take another one with a victory Thursday afternoon, when All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes is expected back in the New York lineup.
Reyes has been on the bereavement list the last three days following his grandmother's death.
``It's not one guy. It's not two guys. This is a whole team thing. And I sit up every night trying to figure out what we can do to get us over the top,' Collins said. ``I don't have the answers. I'm searching. I'm wringing the rag dry of coming in here and having you look at me like I'm a stinkin' fool. And I told these guys: 'We're good enough. We've got to go play the game right, and we just can't continue to make foolish mistakes.'
Ruben Tejada fisted a two-run single that put New York ahead 2-0 in the fourth and Justin Turner homered in the eighth to cut it to 9-3, snapping a long power outage for the Mets.
Minus injured boppers David Wright and Ike Davis, they had gone 10 games without a home run for the first time since a club-record drought of 17 games in 1980.
``Nobody cares about our injuries,' Harris said, ``and we can't feel sorry for ourselves.'
Collins was more concerned with the lack of execution.
``They're big league players. They should be able to do it,' he said. ``I told the coaches, 'We've got to do a better job. We've got to take responsibility for this. I mean, I'm the manager. It comes back on my shoulders. ... Maybe I have to make some adjustments. And by God, they'll be made. I don't know if it comes with finding different players, but something's going to be changed.'
NOTES: To make roster room for Reyes, the Mets placed RHP Taylor Buchholz on the 15-day disabled list after the game with fatigue in his pitching shoulder. The move is retroactive to May 30. ... Mets relievers have an 11.37 ERA over the last 10 games. ... New York has been outscored 93-58 from the seventh inning on this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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