Operation 1-1 took a hit as the Pirates opened the season’s nominal second half with a 4-1 win over the Mets. The pitchers survived eight walks as the Mets channeled the Pirates’ clutch hitting, going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Chad Kuhl walked five, but gave up only two hits. The one run off him was unearned, as Kevin Newman committed his first error of the season. That was the longest season-opening error streak for a MLB shortstop in six years. The error put two on and one came around on a fly ball and a ground out.
The unearned run cut the Pirates’ lead to 2-1. They’d gotten two in the second, after three singles loaded the bases with one out. Kuhl fanned, but All-Star Adam Frazier sliced a single to left, driving in two.
The Pirates got eight hits off Mets’ starter Marcus Stroman, but only the two runs in Stroman’s five innings. Stroman got out of a jam in the fifth when John Nogowski lined out to first. The two started jawing at each other and Stroman went after Nogowski, but luckily for Stroman both benches emptied and a couple dozen players got between the two.
The Pirates added a couple runs with dingerz off the Mets’ bullpen. Wilmer Difo hit his second of the year over the stands in right in the sixth. In the seventh, All-Star Bryan Reynolds unloaded his career-high 17th.
Kuhl left after five, having thrown 86 pitches, only 47 for strikes. The bullpen gave up just one hit over the last four innings. That was a double in the sixth off Chasen Shreve by Pete Alonso, whom the Pirates sensibly walked in his other three ABs. Chris Stratton got the last out in the sixth, then Austin Davis — who’s looking good so far — David Bednar and Richard Rodriguez each threw an inning. Bednar benefited from a web gem from Newman, ranging past second for a grounder and flipping to Frazier for a force out. Rodriguez got his 13th save.