Jacob deGrom had to wait until the eighth start of his Major League career to collect his first victory, when he tossed seven scoreless innings his last time out vs. the Marlins.
With the victory in hand, deGrom's focus will shift to the Pirates, who will send Brandon Cumpton to the mound Friday in a rematch of the two pitchers' duel from May 26. In that game, deGrom did enough to earn a victory, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Cumpton countered with six innings while allowing two runs (one earned).
While the Mets' bullpen couldn't preserve the win for deGrom on that day, it did on Saturday as the rookie hurler bounced back from a short period of struggles.
"I was hoping to get [the win]," deGrom said following his victory over Miami. "I wouldn't say it was bothering me. It feels good to have one now."
deGrom posted a 2.42 ERA in four starts and 26 innings during his first month with the Mets before he hit a bump in his first three June outings, posting a 7.80 ERA while lasting just a combined 15 innings.
Cumpton, meanwhile, is coming off his best start of the season, when he tossed seven scoreless innings on just two hits in a win over the Cubs.
Cumpton also bucked a trend of struggling with lineups the third time around.
"I don't really pay attention to it. I try to keep the same mentality," Cumpton said. "I know what people have been saying, but I don't pay attention. I just attack guys, get guys in and out of box as quick as I can [and] go as deep as I can."
The Pirates will need to send either Cumpton or Jeff Locke to the Minors to make way when Gerrit Cole comes off the disabled list to start Saturday, which could make Cumpton's outing even more important.
Mets: Lagares returns to Mets' lineup, center field
Juan Lagares, activated from the disabled list Thursday, returned to center field and went 1-for-4 in the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Bucs.
A right intercostal strain led to Lagares' second stint on the DL this season -- the first was a right hamstring issue in April -- but after a few rehab stints to help get his swing back and get rid of any hesitation, the center fielder said he was ready to play for the first time since June 1.
"I love the way he plays, with all the energy he brings and the way he's pretty much reckless in center field," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "What he's got to do [if he needs time off], is to come forth and say he needs a day."
Pirates: Home sweet home
Fresh off a stretch that saw the Bucs play nine of their last 12 games on the road, they kicked off a stretch of playing 16 of their next 23 games at PNC Park on Thursday.
"We're always excited to get home -- it's a comfort and routine thing, being able to sleep in your own bed and the like," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We do feel like need to play well in front of our home fans."
With Thursday's 5-2 win, the Pirates are 22-18 at PNC Park this season, and 14-8 in their last 22 games there. In their last seven series at home entering this four-game series with the Mets, Pittsburgh is 4-2-1.
"It does seem like we've been on the road a lot, and it's always nice to be home," Josh Harrison said. "Otherwise, we don't really care where we play. Being at home, how you do does tend to get magnified."
• Andrew McCutchen has proven to be comfortable hitting at PNC Park, where he has posted a .376 (32-for-85) average in his last 22 games. On the season, he is hitting .347 in 39 games.
• The Mets have homered in a season-high five straight games with Lucas Duda's fourth-inning shot on Thursday. They have 12 home runs in their last eight games, going 5-4 in that span.
• While the Mets have a five-game home run streak, the Pirates extended their season-high home run streak to seven games when rookie Gregory Polanco hit the second homer of his career Thursday. The Pirates are 27-18 when homering this season.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.