Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Daniel Murphy's second-inning single knocked in two of five early runs for the New York Mets, who came away with a 5-3 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates to halt a three-game losing streak.
The Mets scored three times in the first inning off Gerrit Cole in the young Pittsburgh hurler's first start since June 3, then struck twice more in the second to stake Jon Niese to a comfortable lead.
Niese (5-4) got through six innings to allow three runs and strike out five, with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia combining to hold the Pirates scoreless the rest of the way.
Cole (6-4) lasted just four innings, permitting seven hits and three walks while laboring through 93 pitches.
Josh Harrison went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the loss, just the second in the Pirates' last eight games.
Cole, returning from a 3 1/2-week absence due to shoulder fatigue, had retired two of the first three batters before the Mets strung together three straight two-out hits to move in front.
Lucas Duda singled to keep the opening inning alive for Eric Campbell, who ripped a double down the third-base line to bring home Ruben Tejada for a 1-0 edge. After a wild pitch from Cole enabled Duda to cross the plate, Kirk Nieunwenheis came through with a base hit to increase the lead to 3-0.
Cole then got himself in further trouble by issuing a pair of walks an inning afterward, setting up Murphy's two-run hit that followed stolen bases from Eric Young and Curtis Granderson.
Niese, in contrast to Cole, breezed through the initial three innings prior to temporarily losing command of the strike zone in the fourth. He walked three straight Pittsburgh hitters during the frame, with Pedro Alvarez and Chris Stewart drawing the last two with the bases loaded to pull the Bucs within 5-2.
Andrew McCutchen had began Pittsburgh's half of the fourth with a double and reached third on Harrison's infield single.
The Pirates inched closer in the fifth, when Gaby Sanchez's two-out double preceded singles by Harrison and Neil Walker that accounted for another run. Niese bounced back with a 1-2-3 sixth, however, and Familia retired all six men he faced before Mejia notched his eighth save with a clean ninth.
Campbell, filling in for an injured David Wright (shoulder) at third base, ended 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.