Chris Bassitt tossed six scoreless innings and Eduardo Escobar continued his September surge by hitting a three-run homer Saturday night for the host New York Mets, who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1.
The Mets (92-55) have won the first three games of the four-game series. New York entered Saturday with a one-game lead over the second-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East.
The Pirates (55-91) are 6-10 this month.
Bassitt (14-8) allowed three hits and walked two while striking out eight in his sixth scoreless effort of the season and his first since Aug. 14. The right-hander worked in and out of two-on jams in the fourth, when he stranded runners at the corners by retiring Ke’Bryan Hayes on a flyout and striking out Cal Mitchell, and the sixth, when he struck out Hayes to leave runners at second and third.
David Peterson, auditioning for a postseason bullpen role after he gave up five runs in one-third of an inning as a starter against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, allowed one hit — Rodolfo Castro’s leadoff homer in the ninth — over 2 1/3 innings before Adam Ottavino got the final two outs in a non-save situation.
The Mets scored all the runs they’d need in the second, when Pete Alonso delivered a leadoff double against Bryse Wilson (3-9). Two outs later, Daniel Vogelbach drew a four-pitch walk and Escobar followed with a homer well beyond the right-field fence.
Escobar missed another three-run homer to right by a few feet in the fourth before walking in the sixth and singling in the eighth. He is batting .393 (22-for-56) with six homers and 12 RBIs this month.
The Mets added runs via bases-loaded walks by Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso in the sixth and eighth innings, respectively.
Castro had three of the Pirates’ five hits.
Wilson allowed four runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings.