NEW YORK -- Both Wandy Rodriguez and New York Mets starter Collin McHugh stumbled out of the blocks tonight. Rodriguez regained his stride, while McHugh tripped.
The Pirates combined patience at the plate with power, scoring often in the early innings in a 10-6 win against the Mets at Citi Field. Four first-inning runs gave the Pirates a cushion with which to weather a three-run inning from the Mets.
The Pirates took advantage of extra-base hits early, notching two each in the first two innings. All four batters who hit for extra bases eventually scored. They also took advantage of seven walks in the first five innings.
Alex Presley and Josh Harrison each had two hits, and Presley and Andrew McCutchen each doubled. Harrison hit a two-run triple. Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones each homered.
Rodriguez almost squandered an early Pirates lead in the first inning. He allowed a single to Ruben Tejada before Justin Turner hit his second home run of the season. David Wright hit his 20th two pitches later, cutting the Pirates' lead to 4-3.
From there, Rodriguez allowed one hit and one walk in his next five innings.
Rodriguez has pitched consistently well since mid-August, a time frame that has not been kind to the Pirates in the loss column. He left his previous start after four innings, lifted for a pinch-hitter in a time of offensive need. In the other six of his past seven starts, he has pitched at least six innings and allowed three or fewer runs.
The Pirates feasted on McHugh, who made his fourth start of the season. Josh Harrison singled and Andrew McCutchen doubled in the first, and McHugh walked Garrett Jones to load the bases. Gaby Sanchez lined a ball to shallow center that Andres Torres slid for but could not catch. Harrison scored but Jones was forced out at second. Pedro Alvarez then hit his 30th home run, giving the Pirates a 4-0 lead.
Rodriguez reached on a fielder's choice in the second. Alex Presley doubled, and a triple from Harrison scored two runs. McCutchen walked and Jones reached on an error, scoring another run to give the Pirates a 7-3 lead.
A bases-loaded walk to Pedro Alvarez in the fifth inning added to the Pirates' lead.
The Pirates' offense has displayed the ability to assemble a big game, though that has happened less frequently in September. They scored eight runs Sunday, seven Sept. 20 and a combined 16 in consecutive games Sept. 15-16. In five of their past eight games, however, they have scored two runs or less.
Trainer Todd Tomczyk and manager Clint Hurdle came out to check on Rodriguez in the fifth inning after a minor collision covering first base on a Ruben Tejada single, but Rodriguez stayed in the game.
Chris Resop allowed a leadoff double to Torres in the seventh. Jordany Valdespin's single sent Torres to third, and he scored when Jones bobbled the ball in right field to reduce the Pirates' lead to 8-4.
Tejada walked, and Jared Hughes replaced Resop. David Wright eventually singled, scoring two runs and cutting the lead to 8-6. Resop allowed three runs on two hits in one-third of an inning.
Jason Grilli retired the side in the eighth inning and Joel Hanrahan finished the game in a non-save situation.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published September 26, 2012 2:45 AM