Late rally pushes Pirates past Mets, 5-3

Jim McIsaac

A solid start from Brandon Cumpton and late-inning heroics by Gaby Sanchez overcame some early non-clutchiness.

The Pirates successfully managed to avoid scoring against the Mets' rookie righthander, Jacob DeGrom.  They did so despite accumulating five hits and five walks in DeGrom's six and two-thirds innings, which took him 122 pitches, only 67 of them strikes, to muddle through.  In the 1st, they loaded the bases with one out, but Russell Martin grounded into a double play.  In the second, with no out, they put runners on first and second, and that's where they stayed.  In the 4th, Pedro Alvarez led off with a double and went no further.  In the 7th they got two on with two outs, but Andrew McCutchen took a third strike from reliever Jeurys Familia.

Meanwhile, Brandon Cumpton once again was effective without being overwhelming.  He went six innings and only fanned one while giving up seven hits, but the hits were all singles except for a double by Methuselah Bobby Abreu.  The Mets finally got to Cumpton in the 5th when DeGrom got a two-out single and Cumpton followed by issuing his only walk to Juan Lagares.  Daniel Murphy lined a single to right to drive in one run and, when Josh Harrison (who had a mini-regression, also going 0-5 at the plate) threw the relay somewhere toward New Jersey, Lagares went for the plate.  Alvarez got a friendly carom off the stands and his throw appeared to get the runner.  Lagares was called out, but the replay showed he just sneaked his hand in ahead of the tag.

The Pirates finally emerged from their slumber in the 8th when Gaby Sanchez, pinch-hitting for Ike Davis against the lefty Scott Rice, lined his fifth HR to left.  With two outs, now facing Jose Valverde, Starling Marte doubled and scored on a pinch single by Jose Tabata.

In the top of the 9th, Sanchez came through again.  Thankfully, the Mets stuck with Valverde despite having better relievers available.  Following a one-out single by Neil Walker and a walk to McCutchen, Sanchez singled to left.  The Mets had a good shot at Walker, but Curtis Granderson apparently threw with the wrong arm or something and Walker scored.  McCutchen followed him when Granderson's anemic throw slipped by the catcher and Sanchez took third.  He scored from there when Martin hit a routine fly that dropped beyond the reach of centerfielder Lagares, who was playing absurdly shallow.  The inning took a weird turn when the Pirates found themselves with first and second, and two out.  Down to one position player, Clint Hurdle let Tony Watson bat instead of using -- gasp! -- the backup catcher, or at least Gerrit Cole, but Watson grounded a single to left to load the bases.  Clint Barmes, however, restored normalcy by hitting a weak fly on a pitch out of the strike zone.

Mark Melancon gave up a leadoff HR to Lucas Duda in the 9th, but made quick work of the next three hitters, the last two on strikeouts, for a 5-3 final.  The final out was a three-pitch whiff of former Pirate draftee, but not signee, Matt den Dekker.  Jared Hughes, who's becoming a key part of the bullpen, threw a perfect 7th inning and Watson got the win with a scoreless 8th.

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