NEW YORK (AP) - Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates are out of the playoff hunt. Manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington are in for another try.
David Wright broke the New York Mets' record for hits and Jeremy Hefner bounced back from a horrendous start in a 6-0 victory Wednesday night that eliminated the Pirates from postseason contention.
``As of late we haven't played the best baseball and kind of ran ourselves out of it,' catcher Michael McKenry said. ``It's just one of those things.'
Tied for the NL Central lead a week after the All-Star game, the Pirates have faded quickly in the second half for the second consecutive year. They've dropped 19 of 25 and must go 5-2 the rest of the way to avoid a 20th straight losing season.
Still, club president Frank Coonelly said Wednesday that Hurdle and Huntington will be back next year.
``Support's always good, absolutely,' Hurdle said.
The loss left Pittsburgh 7 1/2 games behind St. Louis, with seven to play, in the race for the second NL wild card. Jeff Locke (0-3) was chased in the fourth inning and is still searching for his first major league win after nine starts.
McCutchen, chasing the NL batting title, went 0 for 4. But he was happy to hear that Hurdle and Huntington will return next season.
``Yeah, I suppose that's nice,' McCutchen said. ``Glad they're coming back. Don't have to worry about anybody going anywhere. So, I guess that's always a plus.'
McKenry was pleased to hear about Coonelly's comments, too.
``Absolutely. Those guys have put in time, put in work. They've taken a lot of chances on a lot of guys in this locker room, and that's paid dividends,' he said.
``Anytime you think it's change that needs to happen, most of the time it has nothing to do with it. It's just time. We have a lot of young players and we have a good ballclub here and I think the future's really, really bright in Pittsburgh, from a front-office standpoint and the players' standpoint.'
Ruben Tejada tied a career high with four hits, including two RBI singles, and Scott Hairston doubled home a run as the Mets took advantage of some shoddy Pittsburgh defense to win for the fifth time in six games.
Wright reached on an infield single during a four-run third for his 1,419th hit, snapping a tie with Ed Kranepool atop the team's career list.
``I got a chance to show off my blazing speed,' Wright said. ``Ten years from now, when I'm telling my kids, it's going to be a line drive. It's going to be a little different. But I'll take it. A hit's a hit, and just really excited I could do it at home. The fans were great to me.'
The slugger pulled into second base thanks to a throwing error on the play and his achievement was shown on the Citi Field scoreboard. The Mets played a few of Wright's highlights on the big video board, including his first major league hit. He received a warm ovation and quickly waved twice to the skimpy crowd of 22,890 before flashing a wide smile toward the New York dugout.
``I don't think he really wanted that particular hit to be the one played over and over again,' Hefner said, drawing laughs.
A six-time All-Star, Wright accomplished the feat in 1,256 games from 2004-12. Kranepool played in 1,853 games from 1962-79.
Kranepool and Wright posed for pictures together during batting practice.
``It's remarkable,' said Mets manager Terry Collins, who had Wright autograph a ball for him. ``It's a testament to his work ethic.'
Mets fans get another chance to possibly enjoy a nice moment when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey goes for his 20th win Thursday afternoon against Pittsburgh in New York's home finale.
Hefner (3-7) faced seven batters without recording an out in his previous start, a 16-1 loss to Philadelphia last Thursday. This time, he was on top of his game.
The rookie right-hander allowed only three harmless singles, two to former New York City prep star Pedro Alvarez, over seven outstanding innings. Hefner matched a career high with seven strikeouts and walked just one. He also dropped down two sacrifice bunts that led to runs.
Jeurys Familia finished up with two hitless innings.
In addition to his record-breaking hit, Wright lined a clean single to center in the fourth. Daniel Murphy and Kelly Shoppach each had an RBI single. Andres Torres had three of New York's 14 hits and scored twice.
NOTES: Pirates 2B Neil Walker (lower back) was out of the lineup again and could be shut down for the rest of the season, Hurdle said. ... Rookie LF Starling Marte showed off his powerful arm, throwing out Murphy at the plate by a wide margin. ... Pirates coach Tom Filer went down after he was hit in the side of the face by a thrown ball during batting practice. He walked off the field, guided by a trainer, and was evaluated by the team's medical staff. Filer, the club's pitching coach at Triple-A Indianapolis, was expected to be fine.
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