Mets Stop 7-game Skid, Beat Pirates 5-1 behind Canha’s 3 RBIs

AP Photo/Matt Freed
New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, June 10, 2023.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mark Canha knows he can’t replace Pete Alonso’s production in the New York Mets’ lineup. Canha gave it his best shot Saturday.

The Mets stopped a seven-game losing streak, their longest in four years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 behind Canha’s tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning and three RBIs.

Usually an outfielder, Canha filled in at first base with Alonso sidelined by a sprained left wrist. He raised his average to .244.

“I always want to fill and do a good job wherever that may be,” Canha said. “I’ve taken pride in my versatility throughout my career and doing a decent job wherever I’m playing.”

Canha bounced back after striking out and grounding out in his first two at-bats. He also committed one of three errors by the Mets when he booted Jack Suwinski’s grounder in the sixth.

“It wasn’t looking very good for me, so I had to shake myself and dig a little deeper,” Canha said. You want to put (the losing streak) to bed. We’ve still got a lot of work to do but we’re obviously happy to get this one.”

Kodai Senga (6-3) allowed an unearned run and two hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and four walks. David Robertson and Adam Ottavino finished a three-hitter.

New York (31-34), which started the season with a record $355 million payroll, had given up 51 runs during the skid.

“Obviously, it makes it a lot easier when you get those kinds of starts,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Obviously, you’d like to have everything working at once but when the defense broke down, Kodai picked them up.”

Rookie Francisco Álvarez hit his 12th homer and Brandon Nimmo had two hits and a RBI.

With the score tied 1-1, Starling Marte singled off Johan Oviedo (3-5) leading the seventh and stole second as Brett Baty struck out. Dauri Moreta relieved and struck out Tommy Pham, and Pirates manager Derek Shelton ordered an intentional walk to left-handed-hitting Luis Guillorme.

Canha, the No, 9 hitter, lined a double into right-center field.

Álvarez homered leading off the eighth against former Mets reliever Colin Holderman, and Canha doubled in a run in the ninth.

“We got the matchup we wanted,” Shelton said of walking Guillorme. “In the last three innings, we just did not execute with two strikes. It’s probably the only slider Moreta has thrown in the last month that stayed flat. It just stayed flat and stayed up.”

Oviedo gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings as the Pirates lost for the third time in 10 games.

Nimmo had a two-out RBI single in the third, and the Pirates scored in the fourth when second baseman Jeff McNeil misplayed Ji Hwan Bae’s one-hopper for an error that allowed Suwinski to score. Guillorme, the shortstop, also committed an error.