A night after being postponed because of weather for the second time in a week, New York won for the fifth time in seven games. Friday’s matchup was delayed 41 minutes as lightning, thunder and heavy rain blanketed Citi Field with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
Taijuan Walker allowed two runs over five innings and was told after the game by manager Luis Rojas that he’d been added to the National League All-Star team. The Mets are undefeated in his eight home starts.
“It’s finally starting to come and hit me now,” Walker said. “Everybody’s texting me. My family’s texting me, so it’s really cool.”
The NL East leaders broke through against Pirates starter JT Brubaker (4-9) in the sixth, leading off the frame with a single by Brandon Nimmo and a full-count walk by Lindor. Dominic Smith singled, scoring Nimmo and breaking a 2-all tie.
After a brief mound visit by the pitching coach, Alonso crushed one in close vicinity of the Pittsburgh bullpen, chasing Brubaker.
“The slider to Alonso just decided to go straight down instead of my typical down and away from him,” Brubaker said. “Execution-wise, pitches were doing a little bit of opposite I guess.”
Most of the 20,350 in attendance rose to their feet as Alonso pumped his fist emphatically between first and second base, celebrating his 16th home run of the season but only his second at home.
“He was ready for that pitch,” Rojas said. “I pray that he stays this way because if he finds traffic like that and he gets a pitch to hit, that’s what we need.”
The Mets continued to pile on against the Pirates’ bullpen. Sam Howard loaded the bases on two walks and a single. The wild lefty plunked pinch-hitter Jose Peraza, scoring Jeff McNeil. He then walked Nimmo, plating Michael Conforto before being lifted for Kyle Keller.
“I feel that the guys are going to swing the bats like this,” Rojas said. “Because it hasn’t been that way to this point in this season doesn’t mean it’s not going to be like that.”
Lindor lined Keller’s 1-0 fastball just over the left-center field wall, extending the lead to 12-2 with his 10th homer and third career grand slam.
“It felt great to be able to hit a ball, stay through the baseball the other way, and see it go out,” Lindor said.
Aaron Loup (3-0) pitched a scoreless sixth for the win.
After an easy 10-pitch first inning, Walker started the next frame by loading the bases. The tall right-hander then hit light-hitting Michael Perez in the thigh to score Ben Gamel, giving Pittsburgh an early lead.
Batting left-handed, Jonathan Villar lined Brubaker’s first pitch of the third inning for a solo homer. James McCann followed with a soft single onto the outfield grass and later scored from first when Nimmo lined a double in the gap.
Villar added another solo shot in the seventh hitting righty, his eighth of the season and 300th career RBI. He became the tenth player in franchise history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game.
“We go through ups and downs,” Lindor said. “The pitching staff carried us through pretty much the first half, so now it’s our turn to kind of help them out and give them some runs.”
Pirates All-Star Adam Frazier had a game-tying RBI single in the fifth.
Pinch-hitting rookie Rodolfo Castro connected for his first career hit, a solo homer in the seventh against Mets’ reliever Nick Tropeano.
“Even though we weren’t able to come out with a victory, there’s this overwhelming internal joy inside of me that my first hit in the big leagues was a home run,” Castro said through a translator.
Pittsburgh’s John Nogowski had three hits and has 10 through his first four games with the Pirates. That’s tied for the most by a Bucco in his first four games since at least 1901 with Billy Southworth in 1918 and Fred Kommers in 1913.
Friday’s tilt was the first of seven consecutive games scheduled between the two teams, a stretch that includes a three-game set in Pittsburgh next weekend.
New York claimed right-hander Geoff Hartlieb off of waivers from Pittsburgh. He was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
Pirates: RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (right side discomfort) was placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to July 8. LHP Austin Davis was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and appeared in relief. … LHP Steven Brault (strained left lat) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Low-A Bradenton on Sunday.
Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (strained hamstring) participated in pitchers’ fielding practice Friday afternoon and may start a rehab assignment next week, Rojas said. … 3B/LF J.D. Davis (sprained left hand) continued his rehab assignment with Syracuse, gaan 0 vir 1 with two walks at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Pirates: LHP Tyler Anderson (4-8, 4.39 ERA) will start the first game of a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday. Rookie right-hander Max Kranick is with the team but was not on the roster heading into Friday’s action. He may be activated as the 27th man to start the second game of the twinbill.
Mets: RHP Marcus Stroman (6-6, 2.60 ERA) toes the slab in the opener with RHP Tylor Megill (0-0, 3.77 ERA) getting the nod in the nightcap.