NEW YORK (AP) - Back home at PNC Park, Andrew McCutchen's long drive might've won the game. At Citi Field, it became a long out.
A very long out.
Center fielder Juan Lagares robbed McCutchen of a go-ahead hit with a leaping catch in the top of the ninth inning, then pinch-hitter Mike Baxter's single in the bottom half sent the New York Mets over the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Thursday night.
``I didn't think it was out, as big as this ballpark plays,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ``We were hoping it was out, but it's not out until it's out here.'
It was 1-all in the seventh when McCutchen came up with a runner on second and two outs, and the Mets intentionally walked him.
At 2-all in the ninth with a runner on first and two outs, the Mets challenged the All-Star.
McCutchen hit a loud shot into faraway right-center field, toward the 390-foot mark. Lagares glided back, perfectly timed his leap and plucked the ball at the top of the fence as he rammed into the padded wall. It was a fantastic play, yet the rookie seemed so under control he made it look almost routine.
``I thought he was going to catch it at the wall. I didn't think I got enough of it to get it out,' McCutchen said.
``You've got to hit a ball pretty well here to get it out. But like I said, I didn't think I got enough of it to get it even that far. I thought he was going to catch it at the warning track,' he added.
Would it have gone out in Pittsburgh?
``More than likely. This is a deep ballpark,' McCutchen said.
Baxter delivered his second winning pinch-hit in three days. His 10th-inning single Tuesday beat the Chicago White Sox.
This time, Baxter batted for Lagares and won it.
Marlon Byrd singled to start the Mets' ninth off Jason Grilli (0-1). Andrew Brown sacrificed and Baxter followed by grounding a single up the middle, easily scoring Byrd.
Bobby Parnell (4-0) pitched the ninth. The Pirates have lost four of five.
Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run with one out in the eighth off Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins that made it 2-all. Alvarez began the day batting .168 and in a 1-for-16 rut before a single, sacrifice fly and long drive for his sixth homer.
``He continues to take better swings,' Hurdle said. ``We all believe it's just a matter of time, and obviously, he's waited longer than he wants to. But we feel it's coming, absolutely.'
Slumping Ike Davis put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the seventh after entering in the top half during a double switch. He took a terrible swing at a first-pitch slider, then hit the next pitch for an RBI double just beyond the reach of a sliding McCutchen deep in the right-center field alley.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He gave up three hits, all of them singles in the second inning.
The Pirates tied it at 1 in the sixth. They loaded the bases with no outs when McCutchen and Garrett Jones singled and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch, finishing starter Dillon Gee.
Reliever Brandon Lyon avoided major trouble, yielding only a sacrifice fly by Alvarez that made it 1-all.
The Mets scored in the second on singles by John Buck and Justin Turner and a sacrifice fly by Byrd. The run ended a streak of 15 scoreless innings on the road for Locke, a span that included outings at Dodger Stadium, Philadelphia and St. Louis.
NOTES: Martin had missed the previous two games because of a stiff neck. ... Pirates 2B Neil Walker (right hand cut) is starting a rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. He can come off the disabled list Sunday. ... Pirates RHP Charlie Morton will throw a bullpen session Friday. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery last June, and had shoulder stiffness last week in a Triple-A rehab outing. ... Pirates leadoff man Starling Marte went 0 for 4 and struck out three times. He had scored a run in his past 10 games. ... Alvarez and Baxter both played high school ball in New York City and went to Vanderbilt.
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