Francisco Lindor’s 9th-inning single lifts Mets to wild 3-2 win over Pirates

Francisco Lindor Mets
Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Lindor ripped a two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth off Pittsburgh Pirates closer Aroldis Chapman to lift the New York Mets to a dizzying, late-lead-swapping 3-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Lindor, who went 3-for-4 in the win, was the first man to cross the plate on Sunday when he scored on Brandon Nimmo’s double with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, but closer Edwin Diaz — making his second appearance since returning from his sticky-stuff suspension — allowed a two-run single to Nick Gonzales in the bottom of the eighth to put the hosts in the driver’s seat.

But the Mets immediately put the pressure on Chapman to turn the tides and pick up their second win of the four-game series, which concludes on Monday afternoon. Francisco Alvarez walked and Harrison Bader singled to lead off the inning before the fireballing left-hander struck out Mark Vientos and Luis Torrens to put the Mets’ backs against the wall. 

But Jose Iglesias walked to load the bases and ultimately set the table for Lindor, who continues to shine while batting out of the lead-off spot. 

After losing three straight, the Mets have now won two in a row to get back to .500 (44-44) while Diaz rebounded with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to finish his second straight game

The Mets needed a rally in the top of the eighth just to put them on the board, initially. After Iglesias was thrown out trying to steal second for the second out of the inning, Lindor drew a walk before Nimmo lined a double the other way to left-center field. 

Lindor was sent home — a move that might have been overly aggressive — but the relay throw was dropped by Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz to allow the Mets’ star shortstop to score without a throw. Considering Cruz is regarded as the hardest-throwing infielder in the game, a clean transfer would have created a close play at the plate. 

Mets starter Sean Manaea worked his way around an abundance of early trouble set up by control issues to put together a second-consecutive quality start, going six shutout innings while allowing just two hits with six strikeouts, but he walked three. 

Two of those free passes came in the first inning, but a Bryan Reynolds double play got him out of a jam without a scratch. 

Manaea committed an error to lead off the second inning when he failed to touch first base while accepting a throw from first baseman Pete Alonso but proceeded to set the next three he faced in order, although his pitch count ran up to 38 through just two frames. 

The southpaw settled as the finish to his second inning began a stretch in which he retired eight consecutive Pirates. He needed just 51 pitches to get through the last four innings of his outing.

New York was just as mystified as Pittsburgh starter Luis L. Ortiz, though, as it was limited to just four hits across six scoreless innings. 

It was not until the bullpens were ushered in that the levies broke as the Mets scored the game’s opening run in the top of the eighth against Colin Holderman — the reliever whom they traded to Pittsburgh for Daniel Vogelbach during the 2022 season. 

Diaz was called in to clean up the mess made by Dedniel Nunez to start the bottom of the eighth. He allowed singles to Jack Suwinski and Andrew McCutchen to put two on with two outs before manager Carlos Mendoza called on his closer. 

The righty walked Joshua Palacios on four pitches to load the bases before Gonzales pulled a single through the hole in the left side of the infield. 

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