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Daniel Vogelbach helps Mets’ bats break out in win over Pirates

Daniel Vogelbach snapped out of a 5-for-42 funk. His replacement, Mark Vientos, snapped an 0-for-10 skid to begin his career and found his first major league hit. Facing Carlos Carrasco and a Mets bullpen that combined for 16 strikeouts, Pirates batters may have wanted to snap their bats over their knees. 

And the Mets, in snapping a three-game losing streak, may have snapped out of whatever they have been trapped in for the past two weeks. 

The Mets’ offense used a barrage of early hits to break through for a 7-1 victory over the Pirates in front of 25,683 at Citi Field on Thursday night, responding after getting swept at home by the Cubs. 

One game does not signal the Mets have left cold bats firmly in the past. During this 6-7 stretch against teams well under .500, the Mets have averaged 8.2 runs in their victories and 1.9 runs in their losses, either exploding or imploding nearly every game. 

Thoroughly beating the Pirates (55-89) might not mean much, but it did mean the Mets (90-55) moved a full game ahead of the idle Braves. 

Daniel Vogelbach hits a two-RBI double in the first inning.
Daniel Vogelbach hits a two-RBI double in the first inning.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

The manner in which the Mets disposed of Pittsburgh, though, was encouraging: excellent pitching combined with clutch hits — the recipe that had the Mets cooking until this month’s struggles. 

Vogelbach, who already has transitioned from folk hero to a target of boos from the fans in Queens, was in the middle of a few rallies that helped the Mets take control. The struggling designated hitter cracked a two-run double in the first inning, driving in Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso. 

In the third, both base runners got aboard again for Vogelbach, whose stroked single knocked in McNeil. 

The Mets opened up a five-run lead thanks to further damage in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Francisco Lindor drilled a two-run homer — his 24th of the season, bringing him to a career-high 94 RBIs — an inning before the righty-hitting Vientos pinch hit for the lefty-hitting Vogelbach against Pirates lefty Eric Stout and grounded an RBI single through the right side. 

The Mets’ dugout secured the ball for Vientos, the top prospect who has killed lefty pitchers in the minors but has gotten off to a slow major league start. 

Francisco Lindor celebrates in the dugout after his two-run homer.
Francisco Lindor celebrates in the dugout after his two-run homer.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST
Carlos Carrasco pitches on Thursday during the Mets' win over the Pirates.
Carlos Carrasco pitches on Thursday during the Mets’ win over the Pirates.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Staked to a five-run edge, Carrasco and the Mets’ bullpen didn’t need the room for error. 

Carrasco struck out a season-best 11 while allowing just one run on four hits and two walks in six innings. Eight of the strikeouts came on his changeup, which the Pirates could not touch all night: They swung at 24 and missed 14 times. 

The only run he surrendered came in the second inning, when he walked Cal Mitchell before Michael Chavis drilled an RBI double into the right-center-field gap. 

Mark Vientos delivers his first-career MLB hit.
Mark Vientos delivers his first-career MLB hit.
Getty Images

But that’s all the Pirates got against Carrasco, who held Pittsburgh batters to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. 

Seth Lugo struck out the side in the seventh. Joely Rodriguez worked solid eighth and ninth innings and so fooled Oneil Cruz on a whiff that he helicoptered his bat for a second time in the game. Carrasco made the rookie stud send the bat into the stands, while Cruz’s bat hit the netting down the first-base line against Rodriguez. 

The Mets added a final insurance run in the eighth, when Alonso was drilled with the bases loaded. The scuffling Mets will take their runs — and wins — any way they can get them.

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