PITTSBURGH (AP) - Daisuke Matsuzaka shook off his rookie catcher, and the veteran pitcher wound up regretting it.
Hot-hitting rookie Gregory Polanco homered and drove in four runs, resurgent right-hander Vance Worley pitched seven stingy innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Matsuzaka and the New York Mets 5-2 on Thursday night.
Polanco drove in the game’s first run with a groundout in the first inning, then sent a three-run homer into the right-field stands off Matsuzaka in the fifth to put the Pirates ahead 5-1. The right fielder went 2 for 3 with a walk and is hitting .338 in 16 games since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 10.
Polanco hit a slider after Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud had called for a changeup.
“I shook off d’Arnaud and that ended up being a big mistake,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “I apologize to him about that.”
Polanco gained extra satisfaction from having to battle Matsuzaka in a long plate appearance before hitting his second home run.
“I just fight, fight, fight, swing, swing and try to make contact,” Polanco said. “I stayed with my approach and I hit it.”
Lucas Duda hit his team-high 12th home run for the Mets, slicing a leadoff drive down the left-field line in the fourth to tie the score at 1.
Matsuzaka (3-2) allowed five runs and five hits in six innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said. “It seemed like I was just a little bit off all night.”
Despite the big home run by Polanco, Mets manager Terry Collins was pleased with Matsuzaka’s effort.
“He does what Dice-K does - he kept us in the game,” Collins said. “He limits the damage and when you look up there at the end of the game, he’s kept us in position to win.”
Alert baserunning by Andrew McCutchen enabled the Pirates to score a run in the fourth and move in front 2-1.
With runners on first and third with two outs, Ike Davis took off and got caught in a rundown between first and second. Before the Mets could tag Davis out, McCutchen raced home from third.
The Mets cut it to 5-2 on back-to-back doubles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the eighth, but Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save.