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Pirates @ Mets: 07/28 1:10 PM ET; PIX, AT&T; WCBS, ESPN, KDKA

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  • Pirates @ Mets: 07/28 1:10 PM ET; PIX, AT&T; WCBS, ESPN, KDKA

    GAME 105, HOME GAME 48

    Sunday, 28th July
    1:10 PM ET
    Citi Field










    Drew's Sig

  • #2

    Mets Aim for Sweep of Pirates

    For the second time in three games, a New York Mets starting pitcher will likely be making his final home start Sunday afternoon.

    Then again, maybe not.

    Left-hander Jason Vargas will look to continue the Mets' pre-trade deadline surge Sunday when he takes the mound as New York looks to complete a three-game sweep of the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Vargas (5-5, 3.96 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Pirates right-hander Chris Archer (3-7, 5.40).

    The Mets won their third straight game Saturday night, when left-hander Steven Matz tossed his first career complete game -- a five-hit shutout -- as New York beat the Pirates, 3-0.

    The win guaranteed the Mets their fourth series win in five tries since the All-Star break and improved their second-half record to 9-5 -- a record exceeded in the National League only by the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, both of whom are 12-4.

    Of course, the problem for the Mets is their recent surge still leaves them six games under .500 (49-55) and tied for seventh place in the wild-card chase with the San Diego Padres, six games behind the co-leaders, the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.

    Still, Mets ownership is historically reluctant to give up on a season and famously indecisive, as evidenced by the reports Saturday the team is considering trading pitcher Noah Syndergaard and acquiring starter Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays.

    So it wouldn't be the most stunning thing if the Mets decided to hold on to Vargas and Zack Wheeler, who started Friday and is also due to reach free agency this fall, in hopes of making a long-shot playoff run.

    "We can concentrate on winning series," said Mets outfielder J.D. Davis, who hit a two-run homer Saturday. "(At) the trade deadline, you hear all those rumors and everything, but right now we're in it, we're together and we're still trying to make a push."

    There's not much evidence to suggest to the Pirates there's still a playoff berth to be chased. Pittsburgh is 2-13 since the All-Star break, a span in which it's gone from 2 1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central to last in the division and nine games out of a wild-card spot.

    "Unfortunately, we're in a tough skid right now at a pretty important and crucial part of the season," said Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams, who took the loss Saturday after allowing three runs over seven innings. "I'm confident we're going to get out of this. I'm confident guys are going to step up and play and I think a lot of us in this clubhouse are confident it's going to happen."

    Vargas earned the win Tuesday, when he allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings as the Mets beat the Padres, 5-2. Archer took the defeat Tuesday, when he gave up four runs over six innings in the Pirates' 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.

    Vargas is 1-0 with an 8.10 ERA in five career games (two starts) against the Pirates. Archer didn't factor into the decision in his lone start against the Mets on Aug. 9, 2015, when he allowed three runs over six innings in the Tampa Bay Rays' 4-3 win.

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    • #3

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      • #4

        Top of 1:
        Pirates first. Newman walked. Reynolds popped out to first baseman Alonso. Marte grounded out, first baseman Alonso unassisted, Newman to second. J.Osuna lined out to second baseman Canó.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Bottom of 1:
        Mets first. McNeil was hit by a pitch. Conforto homered to left on a 0-1 count, McNeil scored. Alonso walked on a full count. Canó grounded into fielder's choice, third baseman Kang to shortstop Newman, Alonso out. Ramos walked on a full count, Canó to second. On Archer's wild pitch, Canó to third, Ramos to second. Frazier singled to center, Canó scored, Ramos to third. Davis singled to right, Ramos scored, Frazier to third. Rosario singled to left, Frazier scored, Davis to second. J.Vargas safe at first on fielder's choice plus fielding error by third baseman Kang, Davis to third, Rosario to second. Altherr pinch-hitting for McNeil. Altherr hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Marte, Davis scored, Rosario to third. Conforto struck out.
        Runs: 6, Hits: 4

        Top of 2:
        Pirates second. Altherr in as center fielder. Conforto in as right fielder. Cabrera popped out to shortstop Rosario. Frazier popped out to first baseman Alonso. Kang struck out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Bottom of 2:
        Mets second. Alonso popped out to center fielder Marte. Canó grounded out, first baseman J.Osuna unassisted. Ramos singled to center. Frazier popped out to second baseman Frazier.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 1

        Top of 3:
        Pirates third. Stallings homered to left on a 1-2 count. Archer walked on a full count. Newman flied out to center fielder Altherr. Reynolds flied out to center fielder Altherr. Marte singled to left, Archer to second. J.Osuna flied out to right fielder Conforto.
        Runs: 1, Hits: 2

        Bottom of 3:
        Mets third. Davis walked. Rosario flied out to right fielder Reynolds. Davis stole second. J.Vargas grounded out, first baseman J.Osuna unassisted, Davis to third. Altherr popped out to second baseman Frazier.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Top of 4:
        Pirates fourth. Cabrera fouled out to catcher Ramos. Frazier singled to right. Kang struck out. Stallings singled to right, Frazier to third. On right fielder Conforto's throwing error, Frazier scored, Stallings to second. Archer singled to center, Stallings to third. Newman popped out to center fielder Altherr.
        Runs: 1, Hits: 3

        Bottom of 4:
        Mets fourth. Conforto walked on a full count. Alonso struck out. Canó struck out. Ramos popped out to second baseman Frazier.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Top of 5:
        Pirates fifth. Reynolds walked. Marte grounded into fielder's choice, third baseman Frazier to second baseman Canó, Reynolds out. J.Osuna struck out. Marte stole second. Cabrera doubled to center, Marte scored. Frazier grounded out, first baseman Alonso unassisted.
        Runs: 1, Hits: 1

        Bottom of 5:
        Mets fifth. Frazier lined out to left fielder Cabrera. Davis struck out. Rosario remained at bat on foul pop fielding error by first baseman J.Osuna. Rosario flied out to right fielder Reynolds.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Top of 6:
        Pirates sixth. Kang struck out. Stallings lined out to right fielder Conforto. Musgrove pinch-hitting for Archer. Musgrove struck out, safe on J.Vargas' wild pitch. Lugo pitching. Hechavarría in as shortstop. Newman struck out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Bottom of 6:
        Mets sixth. Liriano pitching. Hechavarría doubled to right. Altherr hit an infield single to third. Conforto safe at first on fielding error by center fielder Marte, Hechavarría scored, Altherr to third. Alonso grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Newman to second baseman Frazier, Altherr scored, Conforto out. Canó grounded into a double play, first baseman J.Osuna to shortstop Newman to second baseman Frazier, Alonso out.
        Runs: 2, Hits: 2

        Top of 7:
        Pirates seventh. Reynolds grounded out, shortstop Hechavarría to first baseman Alonso. Marte grounded out, second baseman Canó to first baseman Alonso. J.Osuna struck out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Bottom of 7:
        Mets seventh. Feliz pitching. Ramos grounded out, third baseman Kang to first baseman J.Osuna. Frazier flied out to center fielder Marte. Davis singled to center. Lagares pinch-hitting for Lugo. Lagares struck out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 1

        Top of 8:
        Pirates eighth. Altherr in as left fielder. J.Wilson pitching. Lagares in as center fielder. Cabrera grounded out, third baseman Frazier to first baseman Alonso. Frazier walked on four pitches. Kang struck out. Stallings grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Hechavarría to second baseman Canó, Frazier out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Bottom of 8:
        Mets eighth. Kela pitching. Hechavarría was hit by a pitch. Altherr struck out. Conforto flied out to left fielder Cabrera. Alonso walked, Hechavarría to second. Canó struck out.
        Runs: 0, Hits: 0

        Top of 9:
        Pirates ninth. Bashlor pitching. Moran pinch-hitting for Kela. Moran walked on a full count. Newman flied out to right fielder Conforto. Reynolds homered to center on a 2-0 count, Moran scored. Marte hit an infield single to shortstop. Díaz pitching. J.Osuna homered to left on a 1-0 count, Marte scored. Cabrera fouled out to first baseman Alonso. Frazier grounded out, first baseman Alonso unassisted.
        Runs: 4, Hits: 3

        Drew's Sig


        • #5

          Mets Beat Bucs 8-7, Win 4th Straight, Then Acquire Stroman

          by RONALD BLUM

          -- Jason Vargas was reading in front of his locker in a corner of the Mets clubhouse Sunday morning while Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler were relaxing on opposite sides of the new ping pong table in the center of the room. Whether the three pitchers will be back when the team returns from a road trip Aug. 5 remains uncertain.

          What does seem likely is All-Star Marcus Stroman will be in the rotation.

          New York has given general manager Brodie Van Wagenen reason to push for success in 2019 rather than just reorient for the future.

          An 8-7 win Sunday over the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates improved the Mets to 10-5 since the All-Star break. After the game, they acquired Stroman from Toronto for a pair of top pitching prospects.

          At 50-55, the Mets have passed Cincinnati, Colorado, Pittsburgh and San Diego in the standings and with just over one-third of the season remaining are six games back for the two NL wild-card spots with six teams in front.

          "Brodie understands that I know we can win now. He knows that we can win now," manager Mickey Callaway said. "We both feel like we can win and get on a run and get into this thing."

          Michael Conforto sparked the offense with a two-run homer in a six-run first inning against Chris Archer, and Vargas (6-5) won a third straight start for the first time since last August. The Mets built an 8-3 lead and matched their longest winning streak this season at four games, completing a three-game sweep.

          "I think we're starting to put it all together," Conforto said after reaching 20 homers for the third straight season. "The break was big for us. We got our legs back under us."

          Given a 6-0 lead, Vargas allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings . The 36-year-old left-hander can become a free agent after the World Series unless his $8 million club option for 2020 is exercised. Wheeler can go free this fall but Syndergaard is far more valuable - he can't become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

          "I don't think that there has been a whole lot of speculation in my way. I think maybe if there was, there would probably be more thought," Vargas said.

          Jacob deGrom, Wheeler and Steven Matz got the victories earlier in the Mets' spurt. New York starting pitchers had not won four straight games since Robert Gsellman, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo and Rafael Montero from Sept. 6-9, 2017.

          "I feel like we're synching things up," Callaway said. "Our bullpen is performing. We're scoring some runs consistently. Our starters have been outstanding, and that's kind of the recipe for wins."

          Pittsburgh was 2 1/2 games off the NL Central lead at the break but has lost 14 of 16, including eight in a row. The Pirates are 46-59, the next-to-worst record in the NL.

          "They're fighting. We're not winning, but we're fighting," manager Clint Hurdle said.

          New York led 8-3 in the ninth before Bryan Reynolds had a two-run homer off Tyler Bashlor and Jose Osuna hit a two-run drive against Edwin Diaz, who got the next two outs for his 23rd save in 27 chances.

          Archer (3-8) allowed five hits and four walks in five innings, raising his ERA to 5.58. He is 0-3 in his last nine starts, 0-4 on the road this season and has allowed 25 home runs, second in the major leagues to 28 off Houston ace Justin Verlander. Archer is 28-47 since the start of 2016 after going 32-32 in his first four seasons.

          He threw 48 pitches in the first, falling behind when Conforto hit an opposite-field drive to left. Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario had RBI singles, and Aaron Altherr added a sacrifice fly . The inning was prolonged when third baseman Jung Ho Kang failed to catch Archer's throw on a bunt.

          "I just came out extremely passive, wasn't pitching like myself," Archer said. "My stuff was flat, but it wasn't a matter of my delivery. It was a matter of my mentality. Unacceptable."


          Altherr entered for Jeff McNeil, who was hit on the right shin by a pitch leading off the bottom of the first. X-rays were negative, and McNeil said he was sore but OK.

          "I think Jason Giambi hit one off that same spot when I was pitching," Callaway said, "and it hurt for like two years."


          Jacob Stallings hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who closed to 6-3 in the fifth inning but were hurt by a sloppy game that included three errors and three unearned runs.

          Osuna dropped a foul pop near first for an error; reliever Francisco Liriano failed to cover first on Robinson Cano's grounder to the right side, leading to an usual 3-6-4 double play; and two-time Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte allowed Conforto's fly to glance off his glove for a run-scoring error in what became a two-run sixth.


          Hurdle on how to motivate his team: "I've used before the Stockdale Paradox. You have to have a sense of reality, but you need to remain optimistic. The harsh reality is we haven't played well for two weeks. The optimism is, as I said, there's been six games that we could have won along the way and that flips the record with one hit or one well-placed out."

          FOWL POLES

          Citi Field's foul poles are now fowl poles, with an ad for a chicken company attached to them.

          UP NEXT

          Pirates: RHP Jordan Lyles (5-7) starts Monday at Cincinnati and RHP Sonny Gray (5-6). Lyles has allowed 16 runs - 13 earned - over eight innings in his last three starts.

          Mets: Syndergaard (7-5) is scheduled to start Tuesday at the Chicago White Sox against RHP Reynaldo Lopez (5-9).

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