Mets use 7th-inning rally to come back vs. Pirates for third consecutive win

NEW YORK — The pitching at Citi Field was excellent Tuesday night as the Mets dueled the Pittsburgh Pirates for four scoreless innings. But the Mets are quickly becoming known for their late-inning theatrics and it was no different in their second game of a three-game series, tying the game in the bottom of the seventh.

The Mets broke through against the Bucs’ bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs on Luis L. Ortiz to defeat Pittsburgh, 3-1. With the win, the Mets clinched their fourth straight series. They’re now 9-3 since starting the season 0-5 and own a winning record for the first time this season (9-8).

Third baseman Brett Baty was removed from the game with left hamstring tightness, and replaced by utility infielder Joey Wendle in the top of the seventh. With runners on the corners and one out, Wendle laced a double to the left field corner, just out of reach of Reynolds, scoring Francisco Lindor to tie the game at 1-1. Alonso then scored the go-ahead run on a balk.

The Pirates then replaced Ortiz (1-1) with Jose Hernandez, who got Francisco Alvarez out. But Jeff McNeil kept the rally going with an RBI double off the lefty. Hernandez intentionally walked Harrison Bader and walked Omar Narvaez to load the bases. Finally, Hernandez retired Brandon Nimmo to end the inning.

Left-hander Jose Quintana held the Pirates (11-7) to only one earned run on four hits, walking three and striking out four over five innings. The walks did little to help his pitch count but Quintana worked quickly and efficiently, giving the Mets as good of a chance as any to win.

But right-hander Jared Jones was fantastic for Pittsburgh in his fourth big league start, allowing only a single hit in five innings (a leadoff double by Pete Alonso in the second inning). The Mets don’t strike out a lot, coming into this game with the third-lowest strikeout rate in the league, but Jones got the bats swinging, striking out seven and walking none. Jones got 15 swings and misses, throwing his four-seam fastball high, his slider low and mixing in a few change-ups right in the zone.

The Pirates went up 1-0 in the fifth with Alika Williams doubling to left field and Bryan Reynolds sending him home with a one-out RBI single. Quintana struck out Jared Triolo to end the inning and end his day.

Right-hander Reed Garrett (2-0) struck out the side in the sixth and got out of a jam in the seventh, giving the Mets a chance for a comeback.

They delivered, coming from behind to win for the sixth time this season. Right-hander Jorge Lopez held the lead with a scoreless eighth inning, and Drew Smith retired the side in order in the ninth to record his first save of the season.