NEW YORK (AP) – The Pittsburgh Pirates are about as in sync off the field as they are on it.
Take a random sampling of the team, from manager Clint Hurdle to newcomer Aramis Ramirez. Without hesitation, they all agree on what makes this bunch special.
Ramirez had four hits and three RBIs, Pedro Alvarez homered and Pittsburgh roughed up the sloppy Mets after a rain delay Sunday for an 8-1 victory that sealed the Pirates’ first season series sweep of New York.
“Pretty much our M.O. is being resilient all around,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez, Ramirez and Gregory Polanco each had run-scoring hits in a breakaway four-run seventh, keyed by reliever Bobby Parnell’s throwing error. The Pirates beat the NL East leaders in extra innings the previous two nights.
Pittsburgh also scored on a passed ball by Travis d’Arnaud in their sixth straight win over this potential postseason foe. The Pirates swept the Mets at home in a three-game set in May.
The Pirates outscored the Mets 37-10 in the six games this year and never trailed. With a starting lineup minus several regulars Sunday, including Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh outhit the Mets 15-4.
Alvarez homered off Matt Harvey in the second, and d’Arnaud connected off Jeff Locke in the bottom half. Harvey and Locke matched each other in a gritty duel until a sudden sun shower turned to a heavy storm in the bottom of the sixth.
Booming thunder and crackling lightning got a scream from the crowd of 40,250 – and a jump and a dash from Daniel Murphy, on second base. The Mets second baseman was startled by the clap and flash and ran from the field before umpires even called for the tarp.
“We had a bad day. Came out of the rain delay, we didn’t play good,” manager Terry Collins said. “We had a terrible two innings in a row in a good weekend.”
Not a problem for the Pirates, who’ve had over 20 hours of rain delays this year.
After the 42-minute stoppage, Arquimedes Caminero (4-1) got two crisp outs with runners on first and second to end the inning.
“It just kind of shows the strength and resiliency of the team,” Neil Walker said.
The Mets then lost their footing.
Parnell (1-3), who got the defeat in the opener of the series Friday, was booed as he yielded four runs – two earned – in relief of Harvey.
In two outings this series, Parnell gave up five hits and six runs – four earned – while only getting two outs. He was booed off the mound after both appearances.
Parnell’s throwing error to second base on a potential double-play ball in the seventh helped Pittsburgh score four times.
Pirates relievers got the win in all three games, tossing 15 innings. They gave up one run, six hits and two walks while striking out 17.
“There’s a difference between hoping your guys can get out of it and knowing your guys can get out of it,” Locke said.
Ramirez had a two-run double in the eighth for Pittsburgh, which completed its major league-best 13th sweep this season – their most sweeps since 1991.
Harvey needed 103 pitches to complete six innings. He walked one, ending a three-start streak without offering a free pass.
“The getting the pitch count up, getting some hits early on was big,” Walker said. “It’s a testament to the approach as a whole.”
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