When previewing this series earlier this week, I noted that the Mets and Pirates came in with the same record, and that the team that lost the series would be in a better position to finish the year in a better draft lottery spot. From that perspective, the Mets are perhaps losers for having won today’s game and thus the series. Nevertheless, for a team that has not won a series since selling at the trade deadline, the players undoubtedly wanted to have something to feel good about, if only for a brief moment. By beating the Pirates 8-3 today, they do have that—even if the team’s draft lottery position may end up suffering slightly as a result.
The Mets got the scoring started today in the bottom of the second when DJ Stewart hit a solo homer—right after hitting a two-run shot in yesterday’s game—against Pirates starting pitcher Johan Oviendo. The bats didn’t stop there, as they proceeded to load the bases in front of Francisco Lindor, who hit an opposite-field line drive single to score an additional two runs to make it 3-0. However, the Pirates would quickly strike back against Tylor Megill—who is still trying to find some reasons for optimism after struggling since returning from the minor leagues earlier this month. After escaping trouble in the first two innings, Megill surrendered back-to-back extra-base hits—a double from Ke’Bryan Hayes and a two-run homer from Bryan Reynolds—to lead off the top of the third to put the score at 3-2.
Megill managed to otherwise keep the Pirates off the board, though—he ultimately made it through five innings (aided by a sparkling defensive play at the very end of his outing, as the top of the fifth ended when Andrew McCutchen was thrown out trying to score from first on a double) and only surrendered those two runs despite giving up five hits and four walks. Meanwhile, the Mets’ offense would go on to further build their lead—beginning in the bottom of the fourth, when Rafael Ortega hit a one-out double and came home two batters later on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single. Then, one inning later, DJ Stewart once again showed off his power, hitting a two-run shot for his second homer of the day to make it a 6-2 ballgame.
The Mets’ bullpen came on in the top of the sixth, and the Pirates quickly inched closer, as Phil Bickford surrendered a two-out RBI single to Alika Williams to make it a three-run game. But the Amazins would ultimately get that run back in the bottom of the seventh when Pete Alonso hit a line-drive solo homer to left. Then they further added to the lead, getting two runners on via a walk and an error and then getting an RBI knock from Ortega to make it 8-3.
Meanwhile, despite Bickford’s struggles, the Mets’ bullpen ultimately performed well, as Brooks Raley, Trevor Gott, and Adam Ottavino combined to throw three scoreless innings to close things out. With that, the Mets had their very elusive series win. They will now head on the road to face another team which which they are engaged in a draft position battle, as they begin a four-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis tomorrow night.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: DJ Stewart, +19.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jonathan Araúz, -7.7% WPA
Mets pitchers: +11.6% WPA
Mets hitters: +38.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor two-run single in the second, +15.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Bryan Reynolds two-run homer in the third, -13.7% WPA