NEW YORK -- For the Pittsburgh Pirates, Friday night's win was the baseball equivalent of a reading room under construction: A couple bookends with nothing in between.
Second baseman Neil Walker homered with one out in the first for the Pirates, who only got one runner as far as third base over the next eight innings.
"There's not many games you go one in the first and don't score for eight innings and come back and put two up in the 10th," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
While the Pirates surely would have preferred to score some runs in between the first and 10th, they're comfortable both playing low-scoring games and going into extra innings. Pittsburgh has won 16 games this season in which it scored three runs or fewer and has won its last six extra-inning games dating back to June 26.
"Just goes to show our pitchers are going to keep us in ballgames more often than not," said Pittsburgh catcher Chris Stewart, who began the winning rally with a leadoff single in the 10th against Mets right-hander Bobby Parnell. "We just kept going up there, kept battling, kept fighting, kept clawing like we normally do. Fortunately we were able to come away in the 10th."
Stewart was lifted for pinch-runner Starling Marte, who raced to third when pinch-hitter Francisco Cervelli singled on a full count. Polanco singled up the middle on the next pitch to drive in a run and chase Parnell (1-2).
Cervelli and Polanco advanced a base on a groundout by Walker, and third baseman Aramis Ramirez followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Cervelli with what proved to be a valuable insurance run.
The Mets threw a scare into right-hander Mark Melancon in the 10th, when center fielder Juan Lagares delivered a leadoff double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a long sacrifice fly by right fielder Curtis Granderson.
But Melancon closed out his 34th straight save, and his 36th of the season overall, by striking out left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and retiring third baseman Juan Uribe on a grounder to third.
Melancon preserved the win for right-hander Arquimedes Caminero (3-1), who allowed one hit in the ninth. Right-hander Jared Hughes, right-hander Antonio Bastardo and Caminero combined for 3 2/3 innings of scoreless two-hit ball in relief of the starter, left-hander J.A. Happ.
"The bullpen work was outstanding," Hurdle said. "Fun to watch them go."
Pittsburgh, which is six games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, has the best record in the majors (54-30) since May 9. Twenty-two of those wins have been by one run.
"Just playing good team baseball," Hurdle said. "Guys are in it. More or less the kind of games we are more accustomed to playing,"
Happ allowed one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings. He was making his second start since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 31.
Cespedes homered in the sixth while Lagares and second baseman Daniel Murphy had two hits apiece for the Mets (63-53), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
"Outside of the 10th inning, that was a good ballgame," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That was a very, very good ballgame. We made a run at them in the bottom of the 10th."
The Mets fell to 0-4 this season against the Pirates and 9-18 against the NL Central. New York is 54-35 against the rest of baseball.
"That's why that division's the way it is," Collins said. "Those three teams at the top are pretty good."
Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven over seven innings. It was just his second no-decision in his last 35 starts.
NOTES: The win was the 400th for Clint Hurdle as Pirates manager. He is the ninth manager to win 400 games for Pittsburgh. ... Pirates OF Starling Marte (bruised left hand) didn't start for the second straight game. ... Mets 1B Lucas Duda (back) missed his fourth straight game but said Friday that he was "moving in the right direction." Manager Terry Collins, who expressed worry on Thursday that Duda might be headed for the disabled list, said Friday that the off-day on Monday would likely buy the Mets some extra time to rest Duda. ... Mets 3B David Wright (spinal stenosis) went 2-for-5 and OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (neck/left shoulder) went 1-for-4 with a homer on Friday for Class A St. Lucie.