Edwin Diaz returns from suspension, closes door on Pirates as Mets even series

PITTSBURGH — What a difference a closer makes.

After a few days of bullpen blowups, Edwin Diaz returned from his 10-game suspension Saturday, immediately shutting the door on the Pittsburgh Pirates to help the New York Mets win 5-2 at PNC Park. Diaz hit the first batter he faced, but struck out the second and got Andrew McCutchen to ground into a double play for his eighth save of the season.

Brandon Nimmo went 3 for 4, Luis Torrens went 3 for 4 with a three-run double and despite some shaky moments, the bullpen protected a lead with Jose Butto (3-3), Reed Garrett and Dednial Nuñez holding the Pirates (42-46) scoreless over 4 1/3 innings.

Holding on to a 3-2 lead, the Mets (43-44) plated two important insurance runs in the sixth against right-hander Ryder Ryan, a 29-year-old journeyman minor leaguer who spent three seasons in the Mets’ system.

Ryan gave up back-to-back singles to Mark Vientos and Torrens to start the inning. Tyrone Taylor tried to move them over with a bunt but he popped it up to the left side and Ke’Bryan Hayes came charging in for the out. But Jose Iglesias continued his hot streak with a double to left field that came just shy of clearing the fence for a home run. Vientos scored and Torrens went to third.

Bryan Reynolds made a leaping catch on Harrison Bader’s fly ball to the left-field gap, but it was deep enough for Torrens to score. The Mets took a 5-2 lead.

Pittsburgh threatened in the seventh, loading the bases on right-hander Reed Garrett with one out. Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a low liner up the middle and Francisco Lindor made a fantastic snag to get the out and prevent runs from scoring. Garrett fell behind on pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski 3-1. Suwinksi thought he got ball four on a sinker at the corner of the zone, but it was called a strike to work the count full.

Garrett finished him off by getting him to swing through a splitter. The lead remained intact.

Left-hander Bailey Falter (4-7) was injured during the third inning, loading the bases before trainers came out to check on him. Former Mets right-hander Dennis Santana was tasked with getting out of that jam with no outs.

He nearly did.

Santana struck out Pete Alonso and Mark Vientos before Torrens cleared the bases with a double off the corner of the bullpen fence in left-center field. The Mets went up 3-0.

The Pirates cut the lead to one in the fourth inning when left-hander David Peterson gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Oneil Cruz. He was almost out of the inning when he got ahead 1-2 on Joey Bart, but Bart battled back to work the count full and Peterson couldn’t get him to chase a high fastball for ball four.

Cruz connected on a sinker that didn’t sink, sending it into the Allegheny River.

Peterson induced a grounder for the third out. He faced two hitters in the fifth. Though his pitch count was only at 87, the Mets went to right-hander Jose Butto for a lineup heavy on right-handers.

Peterson was charged with two earned runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out five.

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