NEW YORK -- In a span of five batters in the first inning Wednesday night, the New York Mets equaled their hit total from Tuesday night, equaled their run total over the previous two games and experienced a sense of relief weeks in the making.
The Mets never looked back after a three-run first inning Wednesday, when they racked up a season-high 19 hits in an 11-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Mets (35-29), who were three-hit in a 4-0 loss on Tuesday. They had more hits Wednesday than in the three losses combined (17) and scored more runs than in their previous four games combined (nine).
"We really just wanted to go out there and just have fun and play the game," said rookie second baseman Matt Reynolds, who started in place of Neil Walker (back) and had a two-run double in the first and finished with a career-high three hits.
"Sometimes we take the game a little bit too seriously. You've got to take a step back and just realize it's really just a game. We've got to go up there, just have fun. And that's what we did."
The Mets, who were no-hit through six innings by Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon on Tuesday, loaded the bases with none out in the first via two singles and a walk. A groundout by Wilmer Flores scored Curtis Granderson and Reynolds followed an out later with a double down the third base line.
The three-run inning was the first for the Mets since May 27.
"Once you get three runs, you feel good about yourself," Flores said. "And we went from there."
A piecemeal lineup that was missing five Opening Day starters -- as well as left fielder Juan Lagares, who was scratched an hour before first pitch due to a thumb injury -- continued to pile on.
Kelly Johnson, whom the Mets acquired from the Atlanta Braves last week, started in place of Lagares and homered in the fourth. The Mets scored three more runs in the fifth, on RBI singles by Yoenis Cespedes, Flores and Johnson, and sixth on a two-run homer by Flores and a run-scoring double by James Loney.
"You need those kind of guys (who) when they get their chance to play (can) do something to help you," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Flores became the Mets' third baseman when David Wright went on the disabled list with a neck injury earlier this month while Loney opened the season in the minor leagues with the San Diego Padres before the Mets acquired him May 31 to fill in for Lucas Duda, who is out with a stress fracture in his back.
"Every guy's here for a reason, because they can hit up here," Flores said. "We're good enough to win games with the pitching that we have. I don't think we need many runs."
The Mets certainly didn't need 11 runs with Noah Syndergaard on the mound Wednesday. The ace right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks while striking out 11 over a career-high 8 1/3 innings.
Syndergaard retired 17 straight batters between singles by John Jaso in the first and sixth and carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth, when he was chased following a leadoff double by Jaso and a one-out double by pinch-hitter David Freese.
"I was kind of not really satisfied with myself after not being able to complete that game," Syndergaard said. "It was still a lot of fun to be a part of. The offense really came alive."
The two runs in the ninth allowed the Pirates (33-32) to avoid being shutout for the first time this season. Freese raced home from second after Flores threw away a ground ball by Jung Ho Kang.
"The game's in hand in their direction and the guys want to fight and not let him shut us out," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "At least we took care of that."
Locke endured a second straight miserable start as he allowed seven runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out three over four innings. He has given up 18 runs on 20 hits over 8 2/3 innings in his last two outings.
"This is an unforgiving league at times," Locke said. "These are the best hitters in the world."
NOTES: The 19 hits were the most for the Mets since a 20-hit outburst against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 24, 2015. ... Mets OF Juan Lagares was scratched when his injured left thumb stiffened up after he took swings in the cage Wednesday afternoon. Lagares said he felt better after the game but expected to visit with team doctors on Thursday. ... Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, who went on the disabled list Tuesday with a triceps injury, has yet to resume throwing but said he hopes to play "a majority of the season." ... Pirates C Chris Stewart got the night off due to various nicks and bruises. He passed a concussion test after being hit by Lagares' backswing on Tuesday.