NEW YORK — David Freese and the Pittsburgh Pirates picked a fine time to pad their lead — in-between a bizarre pair of seventh-inning stretches.
Freese drove in three runs, including an RBI single after things went a little haywire, and the Pirates drubbed the New York Mets 11-1 Sunday.
“Such a weird situation,” he said.
Pittsburgh led 5-1 in the seventh when John Jaso appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Mets cleared the field, the Pirates got ready to take their positions and the fans stood throughout the entire singing of “God Bless America.”
Right before the music began, however, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had drawn the attention of umpire crew chief Jim Reynolds, saying he wanted to challenge the call at second base.
“It was just a little bit of a disconnect with the timing with the song coming on,” Hurdle said.
As a light drizzle fell, there still was no action at all for a few minutes, leaving most people at the ballpark wondering why. It was then announced to the crowd that Pittsburgh had contested whether Mets second baseman Neil Walker stepped on the bag while turning the DP.
In the dugout, Freese said he was thinking “there was no way they can challenge this … with ‘God Bless America.'”
But the call was reversed on replay, the Mets trudged back onto the field and the Pirates traded their gloves for bats. New York manager Terry Collins, first baseman Lucas Duda and Walker were among those all over the diamond who discussed the decision with umpires.
“Can’t say that I’ve ever been through that,” Walker said. “Very odd. But given the circumstances, you hate to have that be the reason why you have two seventh-inning stretches.”
When play resumed, Freese singled home a run. After Josh Bell grounded out, there was a second seventh-inning stretch, this one with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” — the fans stood up again, and some left.
Freese said he figured the fiery Collins was bound to get ejected. He didn’t, but the next inning, perhaps as a little jab, Collins challenged a call at first base when a Pittsburgh runner was clearly safe.
Andrew McCutchen lined a three-run homer, got three hits and scored three times to back rookie Trevor Williams (3-3). Freese and Francisco Cervelli each had three hits.
The Pirates turned four double plays and took two of three at Citi Field, their first road series win since late April in Miami.
Williams gave up one run in a career-high seven innings.
Rookie Tyler Pill (0-2) allowed five runs in five innings. Two of the runs were unearned after left fielder Michael Conforto twice overthrew bases for errors.
McCutchen’s homer in the ninth kept up his recent run. After slumping most of the season, he is 13 for 33 (.394) with three home runs in his last 10 games. His big day came on the eighth anniversary of his big league debut, when he singled off the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey in his first at-bat.
Josh Harrison was hit in the back leg by a pitch from Josh Edgin in the seventh. He was checked by a trainer, stayed in and was ruled safe at second on replay. After the first seventh-inning stretch, he was pulled for a pinch runner. The Pirates said Harrison was day to day with discomfort in his right calf.
“I’ll be fine,” he said.
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco was out of the lineup. Manager Clint Hurdle said it was a regular day of rest, to go along with Monday’s day off.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (elbow inflammation) and RHP Seth Lugo (elbow tear) are set to come off the disabled list to make their season debuts next weekend in Atlanta, Collins said. It hasn’t been decided which one will start the second game of a doubleheader Saturday and who will pitch Sunday. Either way, Collins said “they’re definitely in.”
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92 ERA) pitches Tuesday night vs. RHP Kevin Gausman in Baltimore. Nova won both of his starts against the O’s last year while with the Yankees. Pittsburgh makes its first visit to Camden Yards since 2014.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (4-2, 3.97) makes his first career start vs. the Rangers on Tuesday night in Texas. He tries to bounce back from his last outing, when he gave up seven runs in four innings against Milwaukee.
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