NEW YORK – If Sunday was Jason Vargas’ last start as a Met, then it will go down as a success.
The Mets took advantage of the Pirates, who at times looked more like a Little League team than a professional one.
New York (47-58) batted around in the first inning and earned its first sweep in more than two months.
Vargas did his job by working through traffic in the 8-7 win at Citi Field. He scattered six hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings, maintaining the lead he was quickly handed. Tyler Bashlor and Edwin Diaz combined to give up four runs in the ninth, but Diaz got Adam Frazier to ground out to end the game.
The Mets have now won six of their last eight and matched a season high by winning four streak.
For all the talk about the team’s high-profile starters, Vargas could be a cheaper yet important alternative for a contending team. His season ERA (4.01) is similar to those of Detroit’s Matthew Boyd and Arizona’s Robbie Ray, two starters rumored to be on the market. But Vargas is a free agent this winter, unlike those other lefties. For that reason, he may not cost nearly as much.
Vargas was hardly dominant on Sunday, but he didn’t have to be.
The game unraveled in the first inning when the Mets scored six runs and beat up on starter Chris Archer. Michael Conforto started the damage with a two-run shot to left and the Mets continued to chip away. Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis and Amed Rosario kept the rally going with RBI singles and Aaron Altherr added a pinch-hit sacrifice fly. The Pirates gave away an out when Jung Ho Kang dropped the ball on a potential force-out, the first of three errors charged to the team.
Outfielder Starling Marte also booted a fly ball in the sixth, bringing in the first of two insurance runs that inning.
The Mets will head out to Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs, which starts on Tuesday.
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