July 28, 2019 / 8:55 PM / 2 months ago

Mets send Pirates to eighth straight loss

EditorsNote: Edits for clarity, style, missing word

Jul 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Michael Conforto (30) reacts after hitting a two run home run in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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

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