PITTSBURGH (AP) – Starling Marte’s three-run homer in the seventh inning broke open a tight game and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped the New York Mets’ seven-game winning streak with an 8-4 victory on Friday night.
The Pirates led 5-4 when Marte turned on a pitch from Tyler Bashlor and sent it into the seats in left field for his 19th home run of season.
Melky Cabrera hit a two-run double during Pittsburgh’s five-run fourth inning against Steven Matz (6-7). Jos Osuna, starting at third base after the Pirates designated Jung Ho Kang for assignment, had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates.
Trevor Williams (4-4) overcame a shaky start to pick up his first victory since May 10.
Pete Alonzo, Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario all had two hits apiece for the Mets. But New York lost for just the sixth time since the All-Star break when Matz couldn’t protect an early three-run lead.
Matz dominated the Pirates in New York last weekend, tossing a shutout on just 99 pitches. He breezed through the first three innings in the rematch but didn’t make it out of the fourth.
The first five batters Matz faced in the fourth all reached base, culminating with Cabrera’s drive to the wall in left-center field that gave the Pirates the lead. Matz exited three batters later, allowing five runs with a walk and four strikeouts to fall to 2-7 on the road. Matz’s bumpy performance ended a 17-game streak in which New York’s starting pitchers allowed three or fewer runs.
The Mets jumped on Williams early, touching him for two runs in the first and appeared on the verge of a big inning in the third. Yet Williams allowed only a run thanks in part to some nifty defensive plays at third by Osuna, who cut down the lead runner on a force play and later caught Wilson Ramos in a rundown between third and home.
Williams settled down quickly. He didn’t allow a hit after J.D. Davis’ RBI-double in the third, retiring the final 11 batters he faced as Pittsburgh rallied.
Pittsburgh’s five-run outburst in the fourth game gave them the lead. New York drew within one in the seventh when Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman dropped a pop up in shallow center field but Marte propelled Pittsburgh to just its fourth win since the All-Star break with his three-run shot in the bottom of the inning.
The Pirates played without manager Clint Hurdle, who began serving a two-game suspension following a brawl in Cincinnati on Tuesday night that also resulted in suspensions for Osuna (five games) and relievers Keone Kela (10 games) and Kyle Crick (three games). All three players are appealing.
Kela, who admitted after the game in Cincinnati he was trying to send a message when he threw the ball over the head of Reds infielder Derek Dietrich in the seventh inning – a pitch that MLB ruled helped instigate the incident – believes the league is trying to make an example out of him.
“Me being honest, I guess the truth will get you crucified,” Kela said. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to sit here and bald-faced lie. The game sees enough of that.”
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon will undergo surgery to repair a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm and will not return this season. Taillon (2-3, 4.10) last pitched on May 1. The 27-year-old – who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 – was shut down for several weeks after going on the injured list then experienced a setback while trying to rehab last month. There is no timetable on a potential return date.
Pirates: Chris Archer (3-8, 5.58 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA since June 12, will make his second start against the Mets in a week. New York touched Archer for six runs in five innings last Sunday.