Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Robert Gsellman turned in his third consecutive solid outing after allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out six but needed 109 pitches to get 16 outs.
2) Neil Walker hit a two-run homer in the first and Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores also went deep to account for all of New York's runs. Walker also singled and walked while Lucas Duda stayed hot with a double and a single in four at-bats.
3) Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Salas relieved Gsellman (4-3) with runners at first and third and one out and kept Pittsburgh from scoring. Reed, who hadn't pitched since Tuesday, worked two innings for his eighth save in 10 opportunities.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
Another step in the right direction for Gsellman, who has looked much more like the promising starter he was down the stretch last season. Since being skipped in the rotation and moved to the bullpen, Gsellman has rediscovered the sink on his fastball, and the numbers obviously bear that out. He breezed through the first inning on only 10 pitches tonight but still needed 109 to get through 5 1/3...and so it goes for the Mets starters. They're either ineffective altogether or they pitch well but are limited because of high pitch counts.
The bullpen was solid tonight, although not without a few tense moments. Of particular note was Salas, who extricated the Mets from a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth to keep the score, 4-2. It's the second time three days the right-hander has gotten out of a tough situation without allowing a run to score. Blevins continues to be the best option available to Terry Collins and Reed got the job done, despite allowing three baserunners in his two-inning save.
Offensively, it was a throwback to last year for the Mets with all runs coming via the long ball. Flores' solo homer provided a little extra breathing room for Gsellman, as he continues to hit both right and left-handed pitching. With Jose Reyes' continued struggles at the plate, Flores might be the man moving forward for the foreseeable future. Honestly, whatever works. Collins needs to just play whoever is playing best at the time, egos be damned. The club has put itself into a situation where they can't afford to placate veterans. >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
News and notes...
The Mets snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 18-12 against the Pirates at Citi Field since it opened in 2009. New York has hit 12 homers in their five games against Pittsburgh.
Duda's third straight multi-hit effort was his seventh with two or more hits in his last 12 games.
Walker has hit safely in all nine games he has played against the Pirates and is batting .361 (13-for-36) with four homers -- all this season -- and 10 RBIs against his former team.
Flores' fifth home run of the year was his third against a right-hander in 87 at-bats. He hit five of his 16 roundtrippers in 2016 against righties in 207 at-bats. Flores is hitting .368 (28-for-76) with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in 26 games since May 1.
Gsellman has a 2.95 ERA spanning 18 1/3 innings in his last three starts. He's allowed 16 hits, five walks and struck out 14 in that span.
What they said after the game...
Collins on using Reed for two innings: "We made a move you don't normally make by using your closer for two innings but we got to win a game. We got to scratch our way back. We never know what's going to happen tomorrow. We have a chance to win this game. I went for it."
Reed on his six-out save: "Since day one when I came here, they want me to throw the first inning, I'll throw the first inning, they want me to throw the ninth, I'll throw the ninth. No change in my mindset or anything. I'm going to be ready for whenever."
The Mets (24-30) end the homestand against the Pirates (25-31) at Citi Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. on SNY.
Tyler Pill (0-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP) makes his second big league start after a mostly successful first act against the Brewers on Wednesday. The 27-year-old surrendered one run over 5 1/3 innings despite allowing 10 baserunners, but took a no-decision when the bullpen coughed up a 4-1 lead. This will be Pill's first appearance against Pittsburgh.
Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) closes the series for the Pirates coming off his best start of the year against the Diamondbacks on Monday. Williams allowed one run and three hits over six innings in his fifth start since moving from the bullpen. The 25-year-old has never faced the Mets in his career.