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Pirates

July 14, 2013

Pirates rally by Mets 4-2 for 3rd straight win

PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen hit a tying home run, then delivered a go-ahead single the next inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the New York Mets 4-2 on Saturday night for their third straight win.

McCutchen’s 10th homer this season made it 2-all in the sixth. He added an RBI single in the seventh off Greg Burke (0-2).

Justin Wilson (6-1) earned the victory in relief of starter A.J. Burnett. All-Star closer Jason Grilli worked a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 29th save. The victory assured Pittsburgh (56-36) of its best record at the All-Star break since 1975.

Marlon Byrd and Eric Young had two hits apiece for the Mets, but New York’s bullpen faltered in relief of spot starter Carlos Torres.

The Mets grinded their way to an early 2-0 lead against Burnett. Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled home Byrd in the fourth and Byrd added an RBI infield single in the fifth as Pittsburgh’s ace labored on a night he struggled with his command.

Burnett surrendered two runs on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out four but walking eight. He escaped further damage in the sixth when reliever Justin Wilson struck out Daniel Murphy with two on.

The Pirates didn’t let the reprieve go to waste. Pinch-hitter Travis Snider started the rally with a one-out single. Jose Tabata followed one batter later with a single and Snider scored when McCutchen hit a single that deflected off New York third baseman David Wright’s glove and into the outfield.

Pittsburgh added an insurance run when New York’s Josh Edgin walked Russell Martin with the bases loaded.

Torres filled in capably for injured All-Star Matt Harvey, forced to miss a start due to a blister on his right (pitching) hand. Torres pitched five effective innings in his first major league start in nearly three years. The right-hander gave up just one run and struck out five.

Torres worked as a starter in Triple-A Las Vegas this season before moving into a reliever’s role when the Mets called him up in mid-June. He hadn’t thrown more than 45 pitches since returning to the majors and cruised into the fifth before tiring.

Garrett Jones doubled and scored on Jordy Mercer’s single. Clint Barmes followed with a double and a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out. Yet Torres survived when Tabata hit into a double play to end the threat.

Torres then handed it over to the bullpen, but New York’s relievers — whose 1.76 ERA this month is the second-best mark in all of baseball — couldn’t make it hold up. McCutchen reached the seats in center field off David Aardsma to knot it up.

NOTES: The series concludes on Sunday when Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole (4-2, 3.68 ERA) faces New York’s Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60). Cole is starting in place of Jeff Locke, who is dealing with back stiffness that will force him to sit out next Tuesday’s All-Star game ... New York reliever LaTroy Hawkins was held out due to soreness in his right triceps. Manager Terry Collins says any decision on whether to put Hawkins on the disabled list won’t be made until after the All-Star break.

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