A walk-off single by the struggling Jordy Mercer clinched a 3-2 victory over the Mets Friday night.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the first when Jose Tabata singled and Pedro Alvarez hit a bomb to center field for his 24th homer of the year.
Charlie Morton and the Bucs cruised along for several innings after that, but Eric Young doubled and came home on a David Wright single in the sixth, and Morton left a fastball up for a Kirk Nieuwenhuis homer in the seventh.
"I was trying to go down and away, [and] just left it up and in," Morton said.
Morton finished with four strikeouts and one walk over seven innings.
"It was good to see him continue to get a little bit better every time he's had the ball," Clint Hurdle said.
Then the bullpens took over, with the Pirates turning to Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli in the eighth and ninth. Starling Marte doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but the Bucs stranded him after having also done so when he doubled in the sixth.
Tony Watson took over in the 10th and allowed two hits, but Bryan Morris entered and got Wright to line out to end it. Then Vin Mazzaro pitched a 1-2-3 11th.
In the bottom of the 11th, Andrew McCutchen led off with a walk, then stole second. The Mets intentionally walked Russell Martin with one out. After Gaby Sanchez whiffed, Mercer came to the plate with two outs and hit a soft grounder up the middle that just got through the infield. McCutchen came streaking home from second and easily beat Juan Lagares' throw to the plate, and the Pirates clinched their 55th win of the season and second in a row.
Before the single, Mercer had had two hits in his previous 22 at-bats. Not great. But struggles don't always beget more struggles, and one week of losing baseball doesn't necessarily have to lead to another. A few days ago, we were all talking about the Pirates collapsing. Who's to say they won't, but it's hard to see a win like this and imagine that the collapse is still on, at least not right now.
David Manel contributed to this post.