Stewart’s single in 14th sends Pirates over Mets
NEW YORK (AP) Clint Hurdle believes games like this will boost the Pittsburgh Pirates’ confidence down the stretch.
Pinch-hitter Chris Stewart singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning and the Pirates again beat the New York Mets in extra innings, 5-3 Saturday night.
”We’ve become battle tested with extra-inning games this year,” Hurdle said. ”We’ve had things thrown at us, and these guys’ mind-set is you control what you can control. And that’s your time on the field and your time in the box.”
A day after the playoff-contending Pirates won 3-2 in the 10th at Citi Field, they took advantage of a shaky fielding decision to stop the NL East leaders.
Francisco Cervelli hit a leadoff double in the 14th and Starling Marte followed with a chopper. First baseman Daniel Murphy grabbed the grounder, but made a late throw to third trying to get Cervelli. Stewart and Sean Rodriguez followed with RBI singles.
”I saw Marte trying to shoot it my way. He just chopped it in front of the plate,” Murphy said. ”I took a shot. It was the wrong play. Put us in a bad spot.”
Joe Blanton (2-0) struck out six in three scoreless innings. Mark Melancon got the last three outs for his major league-leading 37th save.
Six relievers combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Pittsburgh.
Sean Gilmartin (1-1) took the loss.
Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes unleashed one of the best throws this season, nailing Rodriguez when he tried for a triple with one out in the ninth. Cespedes corralled the ball on the edge of the warning track in left-center and, as he started to fall backward, let loose with a perfect, one-hop peg.
”I definitely was surprised,” Rodriguez said. ”I knew he had that kind of arm strength, but you don’t expect him to be that accurate.”
Juan Uribe and rookie Michael Conforto homered off starter Charlie Morton during the Mets’ three-run rally in the seventh that made it 3-3.
Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the Pittsburgh first, his 12th of the season and first since returning to the team where he began his 18-year career.
Gregory Polanco homered off the right field foul pole against Jonathon Niese for a 3-0 lead in the third.
Pirates: Marte (bruised left hand) was held out of the starting lineup for the third straight night. He entered in the sixth as a pinch-runner and remained in left field. He was hitless in three at-bats and scored a run. … Josh Harrison (broken left thumb) and Jordy Mercer (left knee MCL sprain) continued their rehab assignments Saturday at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Mets: David Wright (spinal stenosis) played in his fourth rehab game for Class A St. Lucie, going 0 for 3 with a walk while playing seven innings at third base … LHP Steven Matz (lat strain) was the starter in that game at Jupiter, allowing a run and three hits over one inning, striking out two. … 1B Lucas Duda (lumbar strain) hadn’t played in four games, but drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in the 12th. He plans to re-enter the starting lineup on Tuesday in Baltimore.
Pirates: Jeff Locke (6-7, 4.43) starts the series finale on Sunday. The left-hander has given up 15 runs in his last four outings, walking 10.
Mets: Matt Harvey (11-7, 2.61) is 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA over five starts since the All-Star break. The right-hander has been particularly locked in of late, not allowing a run in 15 innings.
WHAT A RELIEF IT IS
The Pirates have won 13 consecutive games in which neither team’s starting pitcher was involved in the decision, a franchise record and also the longest winning streak of its kind since the 2009 Yankees also won 13 straight games decided by the bullpens- according to the Elias Sports Bureau.