The Pirates got a strong start from John Candelaria and three RBIs from Bill Robinson to win the rubber game of their three-game series in New York, 6-1. The win brought them back to within a game of .500.
A day after clubbing a game-winning longball in the ninth inning, Robinson put the Pirates up in the first. With Tim Foli on second via a single and steal, Robinson singled in the run with two out.
The Mets tied it against Candelaria in the bottom of the second when Mets starter Pete Falcone singled with two out and two on. The rally didn’t go any further, though, because left fielder Lee Lacy threw Doug Flynn out trying to advance to third, with the Candy Man covering on the play.
That left it to Robinson to put the Pirates up again. In the fourth, following a leadoff double by Dave Parker, Robinson launched his ninth home run of the year, making it 3-1.
Candelaria didn’t need much help after that. From the fourth through the seventh, he allowed just a hit and a walk. Chuck Tanner finally pulled him after an infield hit by Richie Hebner in the bottom of the eighth. Things got touchy after that, as Ed Whitson came on to walk the first two batters he faced. That brought on Grant Jackson, who did an outstanding job the previous day, to face switch-hitter Lee Mazzilli. Jackson had fanned Mazzilli to end an eighth-inning threat yesterday, and this time he got him on a grounder.
The Pirates put the game out of reach in the ninth. Robinson’s third hit, a double, and two walks loaded the bases with one out to third baseman Dale Berra. He delivered a two-run single. An intentional walk to Phil Garner brought up Jackson, who grounded into a force out and beat the relay to first, driving in another run to make it 6-1.
Jackson retired the Mets in the bottom of the ninth for his sixth save. Candelaria’s record improved to 4-3. The Pirates stand in fourth place, six games behind first-place Montreal. They’ll return home for three against the Cubs, who’ll send Ken Holtzman, Lynn McGlothen and Dennis Lamp against Don Robinson, Jim Rooker and Bert Blyleven.