EditorsNote: 4th graf reworded slightly; 5th graf, add ‘retired’ before ‘12’; 9th graf, add that it was Alonso’s 34th homer of season
Zack Wheeler, making perhaps his final start with the Mets, tossed 5 1/3 solid innings in his return from the injured list and earned the win Friday night as New York beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3.
The Mets are 8-5 since the All-Star break and need to win one of the final two games against the Pirates to capture their fourth series in five tries since play resumed. Pittsburgh has lost six straight and has the National League’s worst second-half record, 2-12.
Wheeler (7-6), who was activated prior to the game after missing the previous 18 days due to a right shoulder impingement, allowed three runs on six hits and no walks while striking out seven. With scouts from several teams in attendance, Wheeler regularly hit 97-98 mph with his fastball and 91-92 mph with his slider.
The Pirates took the lead in the second, when they opened the inning with three consecutive singles. The last of those, by Colin Moran, scored Josh Bell from third.
Wheeler then retired 12 in a row before giving up a single to Melky Cabrera and a two-run homer to Adam Frazier on consecutive pitches to open the sixth. He was chased after giving up a one-out single to Bell.
The crowd of 33,776 offered Wheeler, who is due to become a free agent after the season and thus a prime candidate to be traded by the sub-.500 Mets, a warmer-than-usual ovation as he exited, to which the pitcher responded with a wave.
Luis Avilan retired both batters he faced in the sixth. Robert Gsellman and Justin Wilson tossed a scoreless inning apiece before Seth Lugo earned his first save with a perfect ninth.
The Mets went ahead for good in the third. Amed Rosario tripled with one out for New York’s first baserunner against Pittsburgh starter Dario Agrazal, and Wheeler was plunked by a pitch before Jeff McNeil homered just beyond the right-field fence.
Todd Frazier (fifth inning) and Pete Alonso (sixth inning) homered off Agrazal, and Wilson Ramos added a solo blast later in the sixth against Michael Feliz. It was Alonso’s 34th home run of the season.
Agrazal (2-1) allowed five runs on four hits and no walks while striking out one over 5 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media