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Dice-K shakes off sign, serves up big homer to rookie Polanco in Mets' 5-2 loss to Pirates

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - 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.

Worley (2-0) scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out three. He has given up four runs in 20 2-3 innings over three starts since coming up from Indianapolis on June 15. He was 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts for Minnesota last season.

Polanco's home run came after Pedro Alvarez hit the first of his three singles and Worley also singled.

NOTES: New York activated CF Juan Lagares (ribcage) from the 15-day disabled list before the game. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee will make his second rehab start Sunday, pitching for Class-A Brooklyn while on a 55-pitch limit. He has been on the DL since June 11 with a strained right lat. ... Matsuzaka has a 4.88 ERA in 27 2-3 innings on the road but a 1.40 mark at home in 25 2-3 innings. ... Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game. He felt concussion-like symptoms after sliding into second base Tuesday night at Tampa Bay. The head and neck are no longer a problem, but Marte is still feeling the effects of a jammed right middle finger. ... Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano had a 30-pitch bullpen session, the first time he had thrown off a mound since going on the disabled list June 11 with a left oblique strain. ... New York RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA) faces RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93) in a matchup of rookies Friday night.

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