The Pirates went into New York looking for an offensive spark and found it with a lineup shuffle Monday, as Starling Marte’s three runs scored and Josh Bell’s home run were enough to get the Pirates back into the win column, outlasting the Mets 6-4.
Going into Monday, the Pirates had the second worst combined wRC+ out of their top three hitters in the lineup (96, with an OPS of .724). Monday, Clint Hurdle flipped Starling Marte and Josh Harrison’s spot in the lineup, moving Marte to leadoff and Harrison to third, while batting Josh Bell inbetween.
They immediately made an impact in the first inning, combining for a small ball run. Marte reached on an error by third baseman Luis Guillorme, stole second, moved to third on a Bell groundout to second and came home on Harrison’s sacrifice fly.
All three finished 1-4, with Bell recording a two run home run in the sixth inning. Marte scored three runs and stole two bases, while Harrison finished with an RBI and a run scored.
“Everybody contributed something,” Hurdle said to reporters after the game.
Gregory Polanco hit his 10th home run in the second inning off Mets’ starter Seth Lugo (2-3), and Elias Diaz added an RBI single in the third. Lugo was pulled after five innings of three run ball.
Pirates’ starter Jameson Taillon went 6+ innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out five.
While he had six shutout innings in the books, he was asked to go back out in the seventh even though he was already at 90 pitches. He allowed back-to-back doubles, and reliever Tyler Glasnow surrendered a walk and a three run homer without recording an out to cut the Pirates’ lead to 5-4.
Steven Brault, Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez each had a scoreless appearance to preserve the win. Vazquez struck out all three batters he faced.
“That’s as good as he’s pitched all season,” Hurdle said.
Diaz added an insurance run in the ninth when his bases loaded sacrifice fly plated Marte.
The Pirates snapped their five game losing streak while the Mets have now been defeated in seven straight contests.
The Pirates and Mets will play game two of their three game set Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.. Chad Kuhl (5-5, 4.56) will look to rebound from his eight run outing on June 21. The Mets will counter with Steven Matz (3-5, 3.68).
- Vazquez threw five pitches 100+ MPH. He only had 12 such pitches this year coming into Monday.
- Taillon threw 50 fastballs in his 96 pitches (52%). It’s his sixth straight start where he used his fastball 55% of the time or less (according to Brooks Baseball). He did not have any outings with fastball rate less than 60% in his first 10 starts this season.
- This is the first time both Polanco and Bell have hit a home run in the same game since Sep. 27, 2017.