EditorsNote: Edits for clarity, style, missing word
Jason Vargas became the latest New York Mets starter to win his potential final outing for the club as the left-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings and the Mets held off a late rally by the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday to notch an 8-7 victory and complete a three-game sweep.
The Mets have won four straight and are 10-5 since the All-Star Break. The Pirates have lost eight in a row to fall to 2-14 in the second half.
The 36-year-old Vargas (6-5) earned his second win of the homestand and his third straight overall by allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five. He is 5-5 with a 3.58 ERA in his last 16 starts dating back to April 19.
Vargas is a candidate to be traded by the sub-.500 Mets by Wednesday’s deadline, along with fellow potential free agents Zack Wheeler and Todd Frazier. Wheeler allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in earning the win in Friday’s series opener.
The Mets provided Vargas with all the offense he’d need in a six-run first in which they sent 11 batters to the plate. Leadoff batter Jeff McNeil was hit by a pitch by Chris Archer (3-8) before Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer. Frazier, J.D. Davis (2-for-3) and Amed Rosario all delivered consecutive one-out RBI singles before Aaron Altherr, pinch-hitting for the hobbled McNeil, later lofted a sacrifice fly.
X-rays were negative on McNeil, who was diagnosed with a right shin contusion.
The Pirates chipped away with a run apiece against Vargas in the third, fourth and fifth. Jacob Stallings (2-for-4) homered in the third, Adam Frazier scored on a throwing error by Conforto in the fourth and Melky Cabrera delivered an RBI double in the fifth.
Bryan Reynolds and Jose Osuna each hit two-run homers in the ninth before Edwin Diaz, pitching for the first time since he took a line drive off his foot on Thursday, recorded the final two outs for his 23rd save.
Archer survived a laborious 45-pitch first inning to last five innings, during which he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and four walks while striking out four.
—Field Level Media