Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Neil Walker homered twice and collected three hits and a season-high four RBIs to pace the Mets' 12-hit attack. Lucas Duda had two hits and drove in two runs for the second straight game. Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce drove in the other runs for New York.
2) Jacob deGrom became the first Mets hurler to pitch into the ninth inning since he tossed a complete game July 16 against the Phillies. DeGrom tossed a season-high 118 pitches over 8 1/3 innings, and allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out 10.
3) Every Mets starter, including deGrom, had a hit except for Michael Conforto, who went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
4) Fernando Salas secured the final two outs for the Mets after deGrom was removed. It was the first time in 24 games the Mets used less than three pitchers in one game.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
If you'd forgotten what the Mets' blueprint was supposed to look like this season, Friday night was a pretty good reminder. With deGrom pitching like an ace and Walker spearheading a 12-hit night from the offense, New York enjoyed a rare laugher against Pittsburgh, and not a moment too soon.
On the heels of a horrific series loss to the Padres, the Mets desperately needed deGrom to give them not only a good start, but length. He did both. Unlike the deGrom who has struggled with high pitch counts and command, Friday's version was the one we all expected to see night-in and night-out. His fastball was crisp, his slider was effective and he had no trouble slicing through the Pirates' lineup. After a series of so-so outings, despite high strikeout totals, deGrom looks like he's back on the right track after allowing one run in his last 15 1/3 innings.
Walker continued his strong May, parking two balls as a visitor at PNC Park for the first time. The Pittsburgh native has been scorching all month, but has largely gone unnoticed due to the myriad of problems on the pitching side for the Mets. In fact, the entire lineup has more than carried its weight. Despite averaging more than six runs per game in May, New York has gone 10-12, which speaks to the horrid pitching they've received. But for one night, things went according to plan for the Mets. Let's see how they follow this up in the remaining two games and beyond... >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
Highlights from tonight's game...
News and notes...
The Mets snapped a six-game road losing streak. New York has won just nine of 27 games against the Pirates since 2013.
Walker's third RBI was the 500th of his Major League career and his fifth career multi-homer game was his first since April 19, 2016. He's hitting .345 (30-for-87) with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, 18 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 22 games this month.
Duda is 7-for-14 (.500) with three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in his last four games.
DeGrom's five double-digit strikeout games matches his career high set in 2014. His 15 games with 10 or more strikeouts is the sixth most in club history, surpassing Nolan Ryan.
DeGrom also singled twice and is batting .500 (8-for-16) in his last six starts.
Asdrubal Cabrera went 1-for-5 in his first start since May 13.
Tyler Pill was promoted from Las Vegas prior to the game and Rafael Montero was optioned to Triple-A.
What they said after the game...
Terry Collins on deGrom: "He did exactly what we needed. He got us extremely deep in the game, which really gave our bullpen the day off."
DeGrom on his start: "It's made a huge difference in being able to repeat my delivery in late innings and still having good command of stuff later on. ... To go out there tonight and kind of give them a night off is a nice thing to be able to do."
The Mets (20-26) will go for the series win against the Pirates (22-27) as they continue their three-game set from PNC Park on Saturday night at 7 p.m. on FOX.
Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) starts the middle game looking to continue his personal streak of solid starts. The 26-year-old surrendered two runs in five-plus innings in a win against the Angels last Saturday, the fourth consecutive start he has allowed two runs or less. Saturday will be Wheeler's first career appearance against the Pirates.
Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) looks to rebound from his shortest outing of the season on Monday against the Braves. The 26-year-old was battered for five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings after he posted a 2.25 ERA in his previous eight starts. Cole is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in three career starts against the Mets.