The Pirates fell behind the Mets 5-0 right off the bat, but made a slow climb back and finally won, 6-5, with two in the ninth. Rodolfo Castro hit a pair of home runs, and John Nogowski and Wilmer Difo had the big hits in the ninth.
Chase De Jong had a disastrous first. He started with a double and a Francisco Lindor home run. Then two walks and a Michael Conforto bomb made it 5-0.
De Jong stayed on, though, and managed four more innings with no more damage. In fact, he only gave up one more hit and one walk.
The Mets went with a bullpen game, so starter Aaron Loup left after two scoreless innings. Jerad Eickhoff followed with two more, but the Pirates got on the board in the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Michael Perez and Castro. Perez’ homer was his sixth of the year, Castro’s his career second, as well as his second career hit.
But Castro wasn’t done. The next inning, Difo walked with two out and Castro, batting lefty, hit a bomb to left-center. That cut the score to 5-4.
Once De Jong was gone, the Pirates’ bullpen continued to keep the Mets from adding on. Austin Davis, Chris Stratton and David Bednar each threw a scoreless inning.
The Pirates had plenty of chances, as they outhit the Mets, 15-8. The best opportunity came in the eighth, when two singles put runners at the corners to Castro with one out. The Mets turned to their closer, Edwin Diaz. He walked Castro to load the bases, but Perez was called out on a pitch clearly off the plate. Ke’Bryan Hayes then struck out swinging as a pinch hitter.
The game got to the ninth, still 5-4. Adam Frazier lined out to lead off the inning, but Kevin Newman doubled. Bryan Reynolds grounded out, with Newman taking third. (Ironically, the Pirates’ rally had to skirt outs by their two All-Stars.) John Nogowski lined a single to center to tie the game. Ben Gamel followed with a single that sent Nogowski to third, and Difo grounded one just past the third baseman into left to put the Pirates ahead, 6-5.
Richard Rodriguez did what he does in the ninth. A leadoff single brought up Brandon Nimmo and Lindor, which seemed ominous, but Nimmo hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Lindor lofted a fly to shallow right that looked shaky when Frazier and Jared Oliva, who was in for defense, bumped into each other, but Oliva held the ball.
Rodriguez got his 12th save and Bednar the win, and the Mets had to come away thinking about bullpen help. Difo and Frazier had three hits each, and Newman, Nogowski and, of course, Castro two.