The Pirates got a stellar effort from their bullpen in the opener of their three-game series in New York. Four relievers combined to throw eight scoreless innings as the Pirates won, 6-4, in the 14th.
Each starter gave up three earned and one unearned run, but the Mets’ Craig Swan lasted a lot longer than John Candelaria. The Candy Man gave up a pair of two-run innings, then departed for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh. New York got two in the second when Alex Trevino doubled in one and later scored on a fly ball. In the fifth, former Pirate Frank Taveras tripled in two runs. One runner had reached on an error by second baseman Phil Garner.
Both deuces by the Mets came after the Pirates had taken leads. They got two in the top of the second when John Milner singled, Bill Madlock doubled him home and Ed Ott singled to bring in Madlock. After the Mets tied the game, the Pirates went ahead, 3-2, in the fourth when Madlock doubled, stole third and scored when the catcher, Trevino, threw the ball away.
Taveras’ fifth-inning triple gave the Mets a 4-3 lead and the Pirates couldn’t come back until the eighth. Dave Parker led off with a single, went to third on a single by Willie Stargell, and scored on a ground out by Milner. That tied the game.
The Bucs’ bullpen held the Mets off after Candelaria left. Enrique Romo threw a scoreless seventh, then left in the eighth after a one-out double. Kent Tekulve stranded that runner and followed with 1-2-3 innings in the ninth and tenth.
The game stayed tied because Swan kept the Pirates scoreless in the ninth and tenth, then finally left for a pinch hitter. Neil Allen stranded two Pirate runners in the top of the 11th. Joe Coleman replaced Teke in the bottom half. The Mets loaded the bases with nobody out when Coleman threw away a sacrifice bunt after a leadoff single. Coleman intentionally walked Joel Youngblood, then got Trevino to hit into a force at the plate. Grant Jackson came on to face left-handed pinch hitter Ed Kranepool, and the Mets switched to the right-handed Gil Flores. Jackson foiled the move by getting Flores on a shallow fly and the next batter on a line out.
Allen and Jackson held on through the 12th and 13th. Each team got only one baserunner and both were wiped out, the Pirates’ runner on a double play and the Mets’ on a caught stealing.
The Pirates finally broke through in the 14th, but it took some help. After Garner walked and stole second, the next two batters were retired. Tim Foli, back at short for the first time in a week, reached on an error by third baseman Richie Hebner, with Garner going to third. Parker then drove in Garner with a single and Foli scored on a passed ball, making the score 6-4. Jackson retired the Mets quickly in the bottom of the inning to get the win, improving his record to 7-4.
The Expos saw their ten-game winning streak come to an end against St. Louis. The Pirates now lead the NL East by two games.