Mets Complete Comeback With Small Ball, Beat Pirates In 10 Innings

By Paul DiSclafani:

Michael Conforto celebrates game tying home run

Michael Conforto celebrates game tying home run

It took 10 innings and three comebacks, but the Mets (32-26) snap a nine-game losing streak against the Pirates with a 6-5 win. Mets fought back from deficits of 2-0, 3-2 and 5-3 before breaking through in the 10th inning to take their first lead, 6-5.

Playing “small ball” paid off big time for the Mets in the tenth and the Pirates not playing “small ball” in their half might have cost them

Yoenis Cespedes led off the tenth with his third hit of the game, followed by a single from Neil Walker. James Loney then got a bunt down the third base line to move the runners to second and third with one out.  The Pirates intentionally walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases, bringing up Wilmer Flores as a pinch hitter for Ty Kelly.

Flores then floated the first pitch into shallow right center to score Cespedes and give the Mets their first lead of the night.

That brought on Jeurys Familia to try to save it. Familia came into the game having walked just seven batters all year, but he walked the first two Pirates in the tenth and looked to be out of trouble when Sean Rodriguez hit into a 6-4-3 double play as manager Clint Hurdle decided against a sacrifice attempt that would have moved the runners to second and third with one out.

But Familia proceeded to walk Chris Stewart, his third walk of the night, before getting David Freeze looking to end the game for his 19th save.  Familia has recorded 35 consecutive regular season saves.

“We’ll take it and get out of here,” Manager Terry Collins said after the game. Mets lost a doubleheader here in Pittsburgh yesterday.

The Pirates jumped on Noah Syndergaard for two runs in the first inning before he even got an out. Walker booted John Jaso’s ground ball on the second pitch of the game and then Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch.  Gregory Polanco followed with a double to deep right off the glove of Alejandro De Aza, scoring Jaso to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.  Jung Ho Kang then singled home McCutchen and for the third straight night, the Mets were down early as the Pirates led 2-0.

Highly regarded Pirates rookie Jameson Taillon was making his major league debut and held the Mets scoreless for the first three innings, but in the fourth, after erasing a leadoff walk with a double play, Cabrera doubled to left. Kelly, getting the start at third base, followed with his first major league home run to deep right to tie the game.

The Pirates went back on top 3-2 in their half of the fourth when Jaso doubled in a run, but the Mets came right back in the fifth to tie it. Syndergaard led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by De Aza.  Playing small ball paid off when Michael Conforto hit a fly ball to center, allowing Syndergaard to score and tie the game 3-3.

Syndergaard left the game after six innings, charged with two earned runs on seven hits and five strikeouts, but the Pirates jumped on Jim Henderson for two runs to retake the lead. McCutchen worked out a leadoff walk and Polanco followed with his third  double of the night, but Walker mishandled the relay throw, allowing McCutchen, who had stopped at third, to score to give the Pirates the 4-3 lead.  Walker had never made two errors in the same game in Pittsburgh in his career.  With one out, Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly for another two run lead, 5-3.

In the eighth, the Mets kept coming back. De Aza worked out a leadoff walk from reliever AJ Schugel after being down 0-2.  That brought up Conforto, batting second for the first time this year, who cracked a two run home run (his ninth) to center field to tie the game at 5-5.

The Mets seemed to have Schugel on the ropes as Yoenis Cespedes singled and Walker walked then moved to second and third on a wild pitch. But James Loney grounded out to second with the runners unable to score.  Cabrera was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, but Schugel got out of the jam when Kelly hit a shallow fly to right and pinch hitter Curtis Granderson grounded out to end the threat.

Addison Reed, who got the win (1-0), pitched two innings of shutout relief, getting the Mets to the tenth inning, where they played small ball again to score.

Mets head to Milwaukee for a four game weekend series and face Jimmy Nelson (5-4, 3.43). Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.27) gets things started.

METS GET KELLY JOHNSON BACK

Mets reacquired Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves for minor league reliever Akeel Morris. The Braves will pay $450,000 to the Mets on August 1st to cover part of Johnson’s $1.2M contract.  Johnsons will join the Mets in Milwaukee on Friday.

POSITIVES: Mets had 11 hits including two doubles and two home runs … They also had three sacrifices … Kelly had two hits … Walker had a hit and two walks … Syndergaard busted it out of the box for his double … Cabrera was intentionally walked twice … Mets reacquired Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves to help plug the holes at 1B, 3B and OF

NEGATIVES: Mets hit into two double plays … Pirates stole four bases off Rivera / Syndergaard … Juan Lagares missed his fourth consecutive game with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb

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