For the second straight night the Mets and Pirates needed extra innings to decide a winner. And for the second straight night Pittsburgh pulled out the game.
The Pirates jumped on Jonathon Niese in the first — Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run home run to give the Pirates an early lead.
They made it 3-0 in the third when Gregory Polanco led off with a homer.
It stayed that way into the seventh. Juan Uribe also led off with a home run to make it 3-1. With one out Travis d’Arnaud hit a grounder to third. Ramirez threw it away and d’Arnaud was safe on the error. It was crucial because Michael Conforto followed with his second career home run to tie the game.
Yoenis Cespedes helped send the game to extra innings. With one out in the ninth, Sean Rodriguez hit a ball that fell into deep center. It looked like it was going to be an easy triple but Cespedes unleashed a perfect throw to nail him at third.
Hansel Robles turned in three scoreless innings — the 10th, 11th and 12th — to keep the game going.
Lucas Duda pinch hit for Robles with two outs in the bottom of the 12th; he walked. Ruben Tejada singled to bring Wilmer Flores to the plate. But Flores could not be the hero again — he struck out to end the inning.
Sean Gilmartin was pitching his second inning of work in the 14th when he allowed a leadoff double to Francisco Cervelli. Starling Marte hit a grounder to first. Daniel Murphy fielded it and threw to third to try get the lead runner. Bad play — it wasn’t even close, and it would eventually cost the Mets a run. With runners on first and third and no outs, Stewart singled to center to break the tie. Rodriguez was next with runners on first and third. He hit a shallow fly to center that fell in to make it 5-3 (Murphy’s run). Travis Ishikawa bunted with runners on first and second. But he popped it up to Gilmartin, who then fired to second to turn the double play. Rodriguez was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
Kelly Johnson doubled with one out in the bottom of the 14th. But he was stranded there.
The Mets drop their second straight game to the Pirates, 5-3. But never fear — they are still four games ahead of the Nationals, pending the outcome of their game in San Francisco.