Pirates 11, Mets 2: Francisco Liriano struck out nine over 5 1/3 innings in his season debut while Jose Tabata went 4-for-5 and finished with a season-high three RBIs as visiting Pittsburgh cruised past New York.
Liriano (1-0), who allowed six hits in his first start since suffering a broken right arm in December, struck out two batters in four of his first five innings before tiring after 90 pitches. Tabata scored three times and supplied all the offense Liriano needed with a two-run homer and an RBI double.
The Mets continued to flounder with Jon Niese (2-4), losing for the fifth straight time with him on the mound. The left-hander matched a career high by surrendering eight runs in 4 1/3 innings, losing to the Pirates for the first time after going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three starts against them.
Niese allowed only one run in the second inning after loading the bases with one out, but Andrew McCutchen’s RBI single and Tabata’s home run to left-center in the third staked Pittsburgh to a 4-0 lead. Jordy Mercer’s solo homer and Tabata’s double highlighted the Pirates' five-run fifth and ended Niese's day.
Michael McKenry added a two-run single and Clint Barmes an RBI single off Scott Atchison in the fifth before Marlon Byrd’s infield single pushed across the Mets’ first run in the sixth. McKenry added another RBI single in the seventh and Mercer ended his first career two-homer game with a solo shot in the eighth.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The game was delayed for 47 minutes in the middle of the ninth due to rain. ... Tabata, who batted .178 in April, recorded his third career four-hit game to lift his May batting average to .563. ... The Mets have scored a total of six runs in support of Niese during his five-game winless streak, but the Mets’ Opening Day starter hasn’t helped himself by posting an 8.25 ERA over that span.