The Pirates got a key hit from Bill Robinson, and good days from Omar Moreno and Tim Foli, as they edged the Mets, 5-4. The win put them half a game up on the Expos, who split a doubleheader.
Bert Blyleven settled down after a long first inning put New York ahead, 2-0. The Dutchman gave up three singles, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly before getting a strikeout to end the inning. From then until the top of the sixth, Blyleven allowed just a pair of harmless singles.
The Pirates waited until the bottom of the third to get anything going against Mets’ starter Kevin Kobel. After Steve Nicosia singled and moved up on a bunt by Blyleven, Moreno singled Nicosia to third and stole second. A single by Foli brought in Nicosia and Dave Parker plated Moreno with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, 2-2.
The Pirates took the lead and chased Kobel in the fifth. With one out, Moreno singled and stole second again, his 69th steal of the year. Foli drove him in with a single and went to second on the throw. After the Mets intentionally walked the Cobra and removed Kobel, everybody moved up on a wild pitch. A grounder by Robinson drove in Foli to make it 4-2.
Blyleven ran out of steam in the top of the seventh. The Mets got two on with one out, and the Pirates failed to get anybody on a Frank Taveras grounder, with the play ruled a fielder’s choice. That loaded the bases to John Stearns, and Blyleven nearly escaped, getting Stearns to hit into a force play at the plate. WIth two out, though, Lee Mazzilli singled to center to tie the game, 4-4. Dave Roberts, playing a key role with Grant Jackson out, came on to get Richie Hebner, ending the inning. Blyleven finished with seven hits and four runs allowed over six and two-thirds innings.
The Pirates got the lead back in the bottom of the inning. Walks to Moreno and Foli put two on with two out. Robinson came through with a single to center, bringing in Moreno to make the score 5-4.
Enrique Romo came on for the eighth and retired the first four hitters he faced. When Alex Trevino singled with one out in the ninth, Kent Tekulve came on to face Frank Taveras. A force out left Taveras on first, and he stole second and third. It didn’t matter, though, as Teke fanned Stearns to end it.
Roberts got his second win in his last two games, leaving him 5-3. Teke got his 28th save. Moreno and Foli combined to reach base seven times, with Moreno going 2-for-3 and Foli 3-for-3, and Moreno scoring three runs. The Pirates finally got a little help, too. The Expos beat the Cards in the first game of a doubleheader, giving Montreal seven straight wins and 17 in its last 18 games. St. Louis won game two, though, putting the Pirates in first by half a game.