Mets top Pirates in extra-inning game that featured skirmish
NEW YORK — Wilmer Flores singled home the winning run in the 10th inning, and the New York Mets stopped their seven-game losing streak Tuesday night, beating the Pirates, 4-3, hours after general manager Sandy Alderson stepped down because his cancer returned.
In a game that briefly got testy following a hard slide at second base by the Pirates’ Josh Harrison, Michael Conforto hit a tying homer, and Flores had three RBIs for the Mets (32-45), who won for only the second time in 16 home games. They had dropped 24 of 30 overall during a maddening slide that wiped out an 11-1 start to the season.
Before the game, the 70-year-old Alderson choked back tears as he spoke about his illness during a surprise news conference. He and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon announced Alderson is taking a leave of absence. Alderson said his prognosis is good, but he doesn’t expect to return to the job, partly because he’s “not sure coming back is warranted.”
Assistant general manager John Ricco and special assistants J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya will run the club’s baseball operations in Alderson’s absence.
Both dugouts and bullpens emptied in the eighth after a clean slide by Harrison prevented the Mets from turning an inning-ending double play.
Harrison, who reached on a bunt single, went straight into the bag on a grounder, forcing second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to jump over him as he made a weak, one-hop relay to first base.
Without much on the throw, David Freese beat the play at first. Mets reliever Jeurys Familia said something to Harrison, though, and the two began jawing. As players rushed onto the field, Familia and Harrison were kept apart. Cabrera sought out Harrison and gave him a big hug during the brief skirmish, an obvious acknowledgment he had no problem with the slide.
No punches were thrown, and Familia pumped his fist when he pitched out of a bases-loaded threat.
Conforto drew a leadoff walk in the 10th from Steven Brault (5-2) and went to second when Todd Frazier singled. Cabrera popped up a bunt for the first out, but Flores hit a grounder just inside third base to knock in Conforto.
New York has three walk-off wins this season, and Flores provided the winning swing on all of them.
Tim Peterson (1-0) got three quick outs on five pitches — all strikes — for his first major league win.
Gregory Polanco gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead with a solo homer off starter Steven Matz in the seventh.
Conforto tied it in the bottom half with his 10th home run, connecting off reliever Edgar Santana.
Flores grounded a two-run single with two outs in the first to put the Mets ahead. They capitalized on a pair of wild pitches by Pirates starter Chad Kuhl that got past catcher Elias Diaz, who also committed two errors in the inning.
The Pirates threw four wild pitches, all in the first six innings.
Matz faced the minimum through four innings and didn’t allow a hit until the Pirates got four consecutive hits to begin the fifth. Freese singled, Diaz doubled and slumping Jose Osuna drove in a run with a single on an 0-2 pitch. Polanco’s soft RBI single tied it, but Matz prevented further damage with the help of a nice running catch from 37-year-old right fielder Jose Bautista.