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Bucs answer Mets' rally with big 6th, roll to win

June 2, 2017

NEW YORK -- Not often this season have the Pirates enjoyed the types of breezy games their offense is built to win, but Friday certainly qualified. Backup catcher Elias Diaz tallied six RBIs, becoming one of three Bucs to homer in a 12-7 win over the Mets at Citi Field.Starting

NEW YORK -- Not often this season have the Pirates enjoyed the types of breezy games their offense is built to win, but Friday certainly qualified. Backup catcher Elias Diaz tallied six RBIs, becoming one of three Bucs to homer in a 12-7 win over the Mets at Citi Field.
Starting at catcher in place of Francisco Cervelli, who was a late scratch due to illness, Diaz doubled home three runs in the fourth inning before putting the Pirates ahead for good with a three-run homer in the sixth. That was part of a seven-run inning for the Pirates, who provided an emphatic answer to the Mets' five-run fifth.
"Storylines make themselves up. I didn't have it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Diaz. "Two big swings of the bat, handled the staff well. Tough night to pitch, conditions for hitters. [He] showed up really well for us tonight, big shot in the arm with the bat. That's a night he'll never forget."
Josh Bell and Josh Harrison also drove in multiple runs for the Pirates, who took advantage of Mets starter Matt Harvey's continued struggles -- six runs in five-plus innings -- in the victory. Walking four batters and allowing five hits, Harvey bloated his ERA to 5.43. But the Pirates did not stop scoring even after Harvey departed, tagging Paul Sewald for five runs and Neil Ramirez for one -- a Harrison homer.
"From the first inning on, it was just a battle with location," Harvey said. "It was just not my night."

Harvey's issues created more than enough opportunity for the Pirates to boost starter Gerrit Cole, who gave up seven runs in five innings. Lucas Duda drove home three of them on a pair of home runs, while Michael Conforto added an opposite-field, two-run shot.
"It's been a little bit of an undesirable go here the last three times," said Cole, who has allowed eight homers and 16 runs over his last three starts. "Unbelievable job by the team, scoring a ton of runs. … They grinded all day, lot of credit to them. That was a huge pickup."

Super sub: The Pirates announced mere minutes prior to game time that Cervelli was a late scratch due to illness, with Diaz taking his place. That move skewed heavily in Pittsburgh's favor when Diaz cranked a three-run double into the left-center-field gap, then ever more so when Diaz drove home three more on a homer in the big sixth. The latter shot was part of a nightmare inning for Sewald, who faced eight batters and recorded one out.
"We have scouting reports on everybody, whether it's going to be the last guy off the bench or their best hitter," Sewald said. "It had nothing to do with whether Diaz was a late [addition], whether Cervelli was supposed to be in there. For me, I'm attacking the guy that I have out there. I had the information. I just didn't make a great pitch." More >

Five-run fifth: Duda's second homer capped a five-run fifth inning for the Mets against Cole, who served up 11 runs to them in his last two starts. The Mets also received a home run from Conforto in the inning, and a Neil Walker RBI triple that squirted under a diving Gregory Polanco's glove. Statcast™ estimated that Polanco had a 91 percent catch probability on the play, which would have ended the inning.

"Right now, it seems like we start a game and we're not sure what we're going to get. That's not a real good feeling." -- manager Terry Collins, on the Mets' starting-pitching woes
"What a game. I'm sure it's one he'll remember for a long time. He played fantastic. He was great behind the dish all night for me. … Obviously picked us up from the offensive side tremendously. Just a really tremendous game from him. He should be really excited." -- Cole, on Diaz
Duda's second home run was the 118th of his career, tying him with Ed Kranepool for 10th most in franchise history. Duda could realistically rank as high as seventh by season's end, behind Darryl Strawberry (252), David Wright (242), Mike Piazza (220), Howard Johnson (192), Dave Kingman (154) and Carlos Beltran (149).

Harrison's seventh home run of the season, a 415-foot shot to center field, according to Statcast™, was also his first barreled long ball of the year. Harrison's homer came off his bat with an exit velocity of 100.1 mph at a 29-degree launch angle, good for a 61 percent hit probability. His previous high mark on a homer this season was 42 percent.

Pirates: Rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow will start for the Pirates as they continue a three-game series with the Mets at 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday at Citi Field. Glasnow threw three strong innings against the Mets on Sunday at PNC Park and then unraveled, exiting after allowing five runs in five innings.
Mets: Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said recently that Robert Gsellman is likely ticketed for the bullpen when Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are ready to rejoin the rotation. But Gsellman will make at least two more starts, the first of them coming against the Pirates. Matz and Lugo will both also pitch Saturday on Minor League rehab assignments.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.