David Freese was surprised when Mets manager Mickey Callaway held up four fingers. With the gesture, Callaway intentionally walked Elias Diaz to load the bases for Freese with no outs in the ninth and the score tied.
"I didn't know what they were thinking," Diaz said, bewildered. "He's been hitting everything."
Freese, one of several veterans reportedly shopped by Neal Huntington prior to the Pirates' 11-game winning streak, dug into the batter's box as Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove readied to step into the on-deck circle as a pinch hitter.
Clint Hurdle, without Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte again, used each of his 11 available position players, and Josh Bell left in the third inning with an injury to his left side. Freese, a former World Series MVP whose future in Pittsburgh is still uncertain with the non-waiver trade deadline three days away, delivered what he hopes isn't his final act of heroism.
The 35-year-old hit a liner to the gap in right-center, driving in his fifth run Friday night at PNC Park to clinch a 5-4 win over the Mets and snap a two-game losing streak. The Pirates, now 54-51, are within three games in the Wild Card race and seven in the Central Division.
"You obviously don’t come through every time, but to be able to do it here ... I don’t know how much longer I’m playing, whether it’s my last year here or whatnot," Freese said. "But I hope it’s not my last year. To have a walkoff in Pittsburgh is pretty neat."
[caption id="attachment_663349" align="aligncenter" width="440"]TAP ABOVE FOR BOXSCORE, STANDINGS, VIDEO[/caption]