PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates decided to do something different Wednesday afternoon and use an opener.
It did not work out as they lost to the Mets 5-1 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at PNC Park. Of course, it didn’t help that the offense was also pretty much silenced as the Pirates (50-85) lost for the fifth time in their last six games.
The second game is scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m.
Duane Underwood Jr. (1-6) started and pitched the first inning and gave up one run. Bryse Wilson, normally a starter, followed and allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings with three strikeouts and one walk.
Wilson began the first Pirates pitcher to work at least six innings in relief since Kris Johnson also worked six innings in 2013.
Underwood became the 14th different pitcher to start a game for the Pirates this season. He had made 110 straight appearances out of the bullpen since his last major league start for the Chicago Cubs in 2018 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he decided to go with an opener because he felt Underwood matched up being with the top of the Mets’ batting order.
Jeff McNeil’s sacrifice fly opened the scoring. The Mets then used back-to-back home runs by Tyler Naquin and Eduardo Escobar in the fourth inning off Wilson to increase their lead to 5-0.
Naquin’s homer was a three-run blast to the Mets’ bullpen in center field.
“It’s kind of disappointing,” Wilson said. “Keep it together and pitch well then you get a four-batter stretch and they get four runs. It’s a little frustrating when that happens. I just got to look at it, take the positives out of it and move on.”
Meanwhile, Chris Bassitt (13-7) held the Pirates to one run and five hits in seven innings while striking out 10.
Oneil Cruz and Michael Chavis had two hits each for the Pirates.
The Pirates got their lone run in the sixth inning when Greg Allen led off with a double and Tyler Heineman followed with an RBI single.
That was one of just two innings in which the Pirates put a runner in scoring position. Chavis doubled with one out in the seventh but was left stranded.
The Mets (86-51) took over sole possession of first place in the National League East by 0.5 game over the Atlanta Braves. Naquin, Escobar, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso had two hits each for New York.
Johan Oviedo (2-1, 2.86) will start for the Pirates in the nightcap against two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.98). It will be Oviedo’s second start since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.