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Early offense enough as Pirates down Mets

Polanco, Bell homer to support a strong start by Taillon
MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- For a week, the Pirates had problems scoring runs. Manager Clint Hurdle shuffled the lineup, and the Pirates scored enough runs to beat the Mets, 6-4, at Citi Field on Monday night. The victory snapped Pittsburgh's five-game losing streak.

"If it's broken you have to fix it," Pirates first baseman Josh Bell said. "Changing things up. It will give us a new view. Changing things up, it might have been the spark that we needed."

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NEW YORK -- For a week, the Pirates had problems scoring runs. Manager Clint Hurdle shuffled the lineup, and the Pirates scored enough runs to beat the Mets, 6-4, at Citi Field on Monday night. The victory snapped Pittsburgh's five-game losing streak.

"If it's broken you have to fix it," Pirates first baseman Josh Bell said. "Changing things up. It will give us a new view. Changing things up, it might have been the spark that we needed."

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It's one victory, but as Hurdle put it, "Time will tell. We told everybody that we are doing it. That's why we wanted to wait to put the lineup out. We had conversations with everybody yesterday. We wanted to make sure we had everybody on the same page. It was a good night for our team, offensively, defensively, and [we had] enough pitching to stop [the Mets]."

For the first time this season, center fielder Starling Marte was in the leadoff spot, while Bell and second baseman Josh Harrison were hitting second and third, respectively. In the early going, the Pirates' offense looked alive. They had a 3-0 lead by the third inning off Mets right-hander Seth Lugo. In the first inning, after reaching first on an error by Mets third baseman Luis Guillorme and stealing second, Marte scored on a sacrifice fly by Harrison. An inning later, Gregory Polanco made it a two-run game by hitting a solo home run over the center-field fence. In the third, Elias Diaz drove in Harrison with a single to left.

Video: PIT@NYM: Polanco crushes a solo homer in the 2nd

In the sixth inning, Bell gave Pittsburgh a cushion by hitting a two-run homer over the left-field wall off right-hander Tyler Bashlor to make it a 5-0 game. It was Bell's first homer since May 31 against the Cardinals.

"I haven't done that in a long time. A lot of balls that I've been hitting that way have been flyouts, lazy fly balls," Bell said.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon started for Pittsburgh and was dealing the first six innings, allowing two hits.

"In the outing, I thought some different things came and went," Taillon said. "In the bullpen, my curveball wasn't very good. Tonight, it was probably one of the better curveballs I've had for a while, especially in the middle innings."

Video: PIT@NYM: Taillon punches out 5 in 6 strong innings

But then he ran out of gas in the seventh. He faced two hitters without retiring a batter. In came right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who allowed a three-run homer to Wilmer Flores to make it a 5-4 game.

The Pirates added to their lead in the ninth off Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman. With the bases loaded, Diaz hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Marte.

"To add a run late was nice," Hurdle commented.

Pirates relievers Steven Brault, Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez were able to shut out the Mets the rest of the way, while Vazquez picked up his 15th save of the season.

"Everybody was on the same page as far as coming here, showing up and saying, 'Let's find a way to build innings. We get guys on, let's get them over, let get them in. … Let's put more pressure on.'" Harrison said. "I know it's easier said than done because nobody can sit here and say we are going to get 18 hits and whatever. When we are presented with all those opportunities, let's make the most of it."

SOUND SMART
Vasquez saved his 36th career game for the Pirates, tying him with Grant Jackson for the second-most saves by a Pittsburgh left-hander. Ramon Hernandez has the most with 39 saves.

Video: PIT@NYM: Vazquez K's the side, earns 15th save

UP NEXT
Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl is hoping to have a better outing when he faces the Mets starting at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. In his last outing, Kuhl pitched two-plus innings and allowed eight runs in a 9-3 loss to the D-backs. Kuhl's counterpart will be left-hander Steven Matz, who lost his last start to the Rockies on June 21.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and hosts a podcast, Newsmakers. He is also on Twitter @WashingNats.

Pittsburgh Pirates