BY WILL GRAVES
Jordy Mercer’s single up the middle off Germen Gonzalez drove home Andrew McCutchen with two outs in the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates past the New York Mets 3-2 on Friday night.
McCutchen led off with a walk, stole second and then easily beat the throw home from center fielder Juan Lagares to end the Mets’ four-game winning streak.
Vin Mazzaro (5-2) retired all three batters he faced to earn the victory.
Starling Marte had two of Pittsburgh’s six hits, and Pedro Alvarez added his 24th home run.
Mets All-Star David Wright had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
He had an RBI-single but also flied out with two runners on to end the New York 10th. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his third homer of the season.
Gonzalez (0-1) got only two outs in his first inning in the majors and took the loss.
The Pirates had a chance to win it in the ninth after Marte led off with a double and was sacrificed to third.
Pittsburgh eventually loaded the bases but Gaby Sanchez grounded out to first to send the Pirates to their 12th extra-inning game of the season.
Wright, the starting NL All-Star third baseman and Home Run Derby captain, added Alvarez to the NL’s derby roster on Thursday after Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez pulled out because of a hand injury.
Still, Wright’s initial snub wasn’t forgotten by Pirates fans. He was booed lustily before each at bat, even though he and Alvarez – who will make his All-Star debut – exchanged a handshake and a brief chat before the national anthem.
Alvarez wasted little time celebrating. One batter after Jose Tabata reached on an infield single, Alvarez hit the first pitch he saw from Jeremy Hefner into the New York bullpen in center field.
He trotted past Wright without looking up as the seventh sellout crowd of the season roared.
It was the only noise the Pirates would make against Hefner. The right-hander settled down and retired 14 straight after Alvarez’s blast. He needed just 78 pitches to get through seven innings, allowing three hits and striking out three without issuing a walk.
It marked the eighth straight start in which Hefner gave up two earned runs or fewer, the longest streak by a Mets pitcher since Johan Santana did it over 13 starts between 2008 and 2009.
Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton gave up two runs, six hits, and a walk with four strikeouts in his longest start since returning from elbow surgery last month. Morton rolled through five innings before Wright delivered an RBI single in the sixth.
Morton’s only real mistake came on a
2-0 fastball that Nieuwenhuis hit into the first row of seats in right-center to tie it at 2.
Notes: New York right-hander Carlos Torres (0-1, 0.51 ERA) makes his first major league start in nearly three years tonight when he fills in for ace Matt Harvey, who is dealing with a blister on his right index finger and an innings limit. New York manager Terry Collins says Torres could earn a regular spot in the rotation. The 30-year-old Torres has allowed just one run in 10 relief appearances since being called up from Triple-A in mid-June. A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.05 ERA) starts for the Pirates. ... Pittsburgh won’t send rookie RHP Gerrit Cole to Triple-A Indianapolis during the All-Star break. Cole is 4-2 with a 3.68 ERA since making his debut on June 11. The right-hander started on Tuesday, and the Pirates will let him have a few days off during the break rather than have him make a spot start in Indianapolis to stay on his routine. ... The Pirates acquired minor league infielder Russ Canzler from Baltimore for RHP Tim Alderson. To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, the Pirates moved RHP James McDonald (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list.