The Mets returned to a chewed-up Citi Field Tuesday night and promptly were chewed up and spit out by rookie righthander Jameson Taillon and the Pirates in a 4-0 defeat.
Taillon, who was making his second big-league start (both against the Mets), had a no-hitter before Curtis Granderson grounded a single to right-center leading off the seventh.
Yoenis Cespedes immediately grounded into a double play. It was that kind of night as the Mets, who were without five injured regulars, were three-hit in their third straight loss.
Parts of the outfield grass at Citi Field were re-sodded because a Beyonce concert last week appeared to have done considerable damage. It didn’t seem to affect the game, though the Mets hit so few balls to the outfield the new blades were hardly tested.
“Obviously, we have a lot of guys hurt,” manager Terry Collins said. “Our lineup is what it is because that’s what we have. I’m not going to sit here and complain about it. We’ve got to get it done.”
The Mets, who were no-hit twice last season, were without the injured David Wright, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, Neil Walker and Michael Conforto. Juan Lagares was scratched from the original lineup because of a dental issue, although he did pinch hit in the sixth and grounded out.
Conforto, who got a cortisone shot in his ailing left wrist Monday, struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
That’s injuries or illness to six of the nine starters from Opening Day in Kansas City, tough for any offense to overcome. The Mets are feeling the pain in more ways than one.
“We’re missing a couple of players,” Asdrubal Cabrera said. “But that happens in this game a lot. Nothing we can do about it. We’ve got to come here and fight every day.”
The Mets did welcome back Collins, who missed Sunday’s game in Milwaukee after he was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness.
Pittsburgh, which had lost five in a row, was powered by two-run home runs by Jung Ho Kang (off losing pitcher Jacob deGrom) and Starling Marte (off Jim Henderson).
Taillon, 24, was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. He made his major-league debut last Wednesday against the Mets at PNC Park and allowed three runs in six innings in a no-decision.
DeGrom (3-3) matched Taillon zero for zero over the first five innings. But the Pirates broke the tie in the sixth when Kang hit a two-out, two-run homer to left-center.
Ballgame? Certainly felt like it.
“I try not to think about that,” said deGrom, who allowed six hits and one walk and had nine strikeouts. “I think that’s what all our starters do, just try to go out there and put up zeroes no matter what the score is.”
It was 2-0 until the eighth, when Henderson, in his second inning of work, walked Gregory Polanco and gave up a two-run home run to Marte.
James Loney singled to left with one out in the eighth for the Mets’ second hit. Taillon was removed for a pinch hitter in the ninth. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five in a 91-pitch gem.
Pinch hitter Matt Reynolds led off the ninth with a double off lefthander Tony Watson, but remained there as Watson retired the next three.
“These guys in here are good hitters,” deGrom said after the Mets were shut out for the sixth time. “It’s just a tough stretch. They’ll be back at it pretty soon.”