On a day when he got bad news about his closer and watched his bullpen struggle again, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel preferred to talk about something positive... and that something was Pedro Martinez.
Pedro Martinez pitched seven innings for the first time this season, and Jose Reyes and Ramon Castro homered to lead the surging Mets past the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4 Saturday night.
Reyes and Castro each finished with two hits and two RBIs for the Mets, who have won five straight and nine of 12. New York, which is a season-best 11 games over .500, entered the day leading the NL East by one game over Philadelphia.
Martinez ( allowed one run, eight hits and struck out four in his 13th start of the season. Previously, his longest outing was 6 1-3 innings in a loss to San Diego on Aug. 6.
The oft-injured right-hander, who won for the first time since beating the Phillies on July 7, has gone seven innings just twice in his past 22 starts dating to 2006.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner threw 95 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Martinez's excellent outing was jeopardized by the shaky bullpen. The Pirates scored three times in the ninth against rusty rookie Eddie Kunz, who hadn't pitched since Sunday. Pedro Feliciano entered with runners on first and second with one out. He earned his second save after getting Ryan Doumit to fly out and Adam LaRoche to ground out.
Before the game, New York got disappointing news when injured closer Billy Wagner felt discomfort in his pitching elbow following a simulated game.
The All-Star reliever, sidelined with a strained left forearm, won't come off the disabled list as expected Monday and instead will return to New York on Sunday for further evaluation.
One night after the Mets held on for a 2-1 victory, they provided plenty of offense for Martinez, who shut down Pittsburgh for six innings on Monday only to have his bullpen blow a 5-1 lead in a 7-5 New York loss.
Reyes led off the game with a home run to left field against Zach Duke and added an RBI triple in the second.
Carlos Beltran and Fernando Tatis had RBIs as part of a three-run first, and Castro's two-run homer in the sixth made it 6-0. Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Duke, who retired 13 of 14 batters during one stretch, allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings. The left-hander, winless in 12 starts, dropped to 0-5 with a 7.97 ERA in the second half.
David Wright went 1-5 with a run scored in today's game, dropping his average a little to .292.