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Starling Marte's HR keys surging Mets to sweep of Pirates with 9-1 victory

By AP | Apr 18, 2024

New York Mets' Starling Marte rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By JERRY BEACH Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Starling Marte hit his 150th career homer Wednesday, powering the New York Mets to a 9-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a sweep of a three-game series.

Marte, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Pirates, hit the milestone two-run homer off the railing beyond the left-center field fence to give the Mets a 2-1 lead in the third inning. The 35-year-old is the only active player with at least 150 homers and 300 stolen bases.

His 341 steals lead all current players.

“Continue competing, continue reaching milestones and goals,” Marte said through an interpreter. “And also for the team to continue to win — that’s all that I really focus on.”

Tyrone Taylor hit a two-run single in the sixth and Harrison Bader homered on the next pitch for the Mets, who went 5-1 on a homestand against the Pirates and Kansas City Royals to improve to 10-3 since an 0-5 start.

Four of the Mets’ wins on the homestand — including all three against the Pirates — were on comebacks.

“Really good homestand for us,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “We were able to comeback a couple nights. Today, got behind again. It’s good to see the team continue to play well.”

Brandon Nimmo’s two-run single capped a three-run eighth.

The sweep was the first for the Mets at Citi Field since they won three straight from the Philadelphia Phillies from May 30-June 1, 2023.

Right-hander Luis Severino (2-1) allowed an unearned run in six innings — his longest start since he tossed seven scoreless innings for the Yankees against the Detroit Tigers last Aug. 28. Severino allowed a base runner in each of his first five innings, but induced three double plays.

“We’re doing great — putting (together) great at-bats, scoring a lot of runs, defense was unbelievable today,” Severino said. “We are where we want to be.”

Bryan Reynolds had a third-inning RBI single to give the Pirates a short-lived lead. Pittsburgh scored at least five runs in 10 of its first 16 games this season before being limited to five runs and 13 hits by the Mets.

“We have to have better at-bats,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Up until this series, we’ve had pretty consistent at-bats and then this series we got pitched to. We need to make an adjustment. Probably a good time for an off day.”

Bailey Falter (1-1) gave up two runs in five innings for Pittsburgh.

EARLY SEASON ATTENDANCE

The attendance at Citi Field was 18,092. It’s the sixth game under 20,000 in 11 home dates for the Mets. Outside of the COVID-19-restricted 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Mets entered this season having played in front of fewer than 20,000 fans at Citi Field just once since it opened in 2009 — on Sept. 6, 2017, when 19,617 fans attended a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

SHEA HEY

Jack Fisher threw out the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday, which was the 60th anniversary of Fisher throwing the first pitch in the Mets’ debut game at Shea Stadium — a 4-3 loss to the Pirates in which Fisher threw 6 2/3 innings. Fisher, 85, was accompanied to the mound by 83-year-old Ron Hunt, who made the NL All-Star team for the Mets in 1964 and 1966, and Hunt’s son.

METS MOVE

The Mets claimed RHP Michael Tonkin off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and designated LHP Tyler Jay for assignment. Tonkin began the season with the Mets and went 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three games before being designated for assignment and claimed by the Twins. He gave up two runs in two innings in his lone appearance for Minnesota on April 12.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: C Joey Bart (head) was scratched shortly before first pitch and replaced by Henry Davis. Shelton said Bart was catching in the bullpen during batting practice earlier this week when he was hit in the head by a home run. “He came in today, he felt fine and then as we got closer to game time, he didn’t feel as well,” Shelton said. … 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (lower back) missed his second straight game. Shelton said Hayes was feeling better and would undergo additional treatment during Thursday’s day off. … C Yasmani Grandal (left foot plantar fasciitis) went 0-for-2 with an RBI in his first rehab game Tuesday for Triple-A Indianapolis. … SS Oneil Cruz was visited by a trainer but remained in the game after he stumbled and fell while trying to elude Jeff McNeil’s tag on a first-inning grounder by Connor Joe. Cruz, who was tagged out by shortstop Francisco Lindor, was limited to nine games last season because of a broken ankle suffered during a home plate collision against the Chicago White Sox.

Mets: 3B Brett Baty (left hamstring), who left Tuesday’s 3-1 win in the sixth inning, didn’t play but felt better. Mendoza said Baty is day to day and shouldn’t require a stint on the injured list. … C Francisco Alvarez stayed in the game after he was hit in the throwing hand by Henry Davis’ bat in the third inning. Alvarez was charged with catcher’s interference on the play.

UP NEXT

Pirates: Begin a seven-game homestand Friday by hosting the Boston Red Sox.

Mets: Start a six-game West Coast road trip Friday with the opener of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. LHP Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.30 ERA) is scheduled to start for New York. Los Angeles has yet to announce a starter.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb