PITTSBURGH (AP) – Asdrubal Cabrera went 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs to break out of an extended slump, and the New York Mets pounded the sloppy Pittsburgh Pirates 12-6 on Thursday night for their first three-game winning streak since mid-June.
Cabrera entered hitting just .184 (7 for 38) in his prior 12 games. He doubled home Devin Mesoraco in the second against Nick Kingham (5-5) and hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fourth.
Wilmer Flores also hit a two-run homer and had three RBIs as the struggling Mets posted their highest run total since scoring a dozen times against Colorado on June 18.
Amed Rosario and Jose Bautista had two hits each as New York sent the Pirates to their second straight loss following an 11-game winning streak that pushed Pittsburgh back into the playoff chase.
Steven Matz (5-8) settled down after giving up two-run homers to David Freese and Josh Harrison in the early innings. Matz tied a career-high with nine strikeouts, walked two and retired his final 10 batters to win for just the third time in his last 11 starts.
Freese and Harrison helped the Pirates dig out of early deficits but the Mets kept piling on against Kingham and the bullpen.
Kingham left after Cabrera’s shot in the fourth put New York ahead 6-4. The rookie allowed six runs and seven hits in three-plus innings, the second time in his last four starts he failed to get an out past the third.
Brandon Nimmo scored an unearned run in the fourth following an error by third baseman David Freese. New York tacked on three more in the seventh.
Pittsburgh tied a season high with three errors while losing for only the third time in 16 games.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli went 0 for 4 and committed an error in his return from concussion-like symptoms that had sidelined hinm since July 14. Cervelli described feeling like he had a “hangover” after getting hit by foul balls or bats in four consecutive games. Though the Cervelli has taken ground balls in practice, there are no plans to put him in a game in the infield anytime soon. “From my perspective, it’s like telling a matador not to fight bulls,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
Mets: Jason Vargas (2-6, 8.60 ERA) is expected to come off the DL to start on Friday. Vargas has been out since June 20 with a strained right calf.
Pirates: Ivan Nova (6-6, 4.28 ERA) is 4-1 since returning from a stint on the DL with a sprained right ring finger on June 10. He is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five starts against the Mets.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)