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Paul Skenes dazzles, Pirates tie club record by pounding seven homers in 14-2 demolition of the Mets

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Paul Skenes threw seven strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates tied a franchise record by smashing seven home runs in a 14-2 demolition of the New York Mets on Friday night.

Bryan Reynolds and Rowdy Tellez became the first teammates in major league history to each hit multiple homers including a grand slam in the same game. Reynolds also tied a career high with six RBIs to continue a surge that started with a 25-game hitting streak in June.

“What is it, June 38th?” Reynolds joked after a four-hit night that boosted his batting average to .280.

Skenes (5-0), a 22-year-old rookie, allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and eight strikeouts while his ERA ticked up slightly to 2.12.

The mustachioed right-hander has struck out seven or more batters in nine of his first 10 starts, the most ever by a pitcher over the first 10 games of his career. Skenes has thrown 74 pitches of at least 100 mph this season, more than double anyone else in the majors.

Yet Skenes didn’t just beat the Mets with his heat. The last of his 107 pitches was an 87 mph slider that Harrison Bader whiffed at, bringing just the second sellout crowd of the season at PNC Park to its feet as the 6-foot-6 top overall pick in the 2023 draft made his way to the dugout.

“That’s why it’s nice to have five pitches,” Skenes said. “Because if one’s not there, then we can pitch with the rest of them. The fastball was absolutely not there early in the game. So made do with the other stuff.”

Pittsburgh’s struggling offense — as it seems to do frequently when Skenes is starting — provided plenty of cushion.

Reynolds has it going from both sides of the plate. He hit a two-run homer from the left side off Luis Severino (5-3) in the fifth inning to put Pittsburgh in front. His grand slam — from the right side — came against reliever Jake Diekman in the seventh.

Tellez hit his grand slam during a six-run eighth that ended with New York catcher/designated hitter Luis Torrens getting the final out. He also had a solo shot in the fourth to cut into New York’s early 2-0 lead. The Mets tied a club record for home runs allowed in a game.

“I don’t want to losel I hate losing. It doesn’t feel good,” New York shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “However I understand it’s only one game. Just got to find a way to bounce back tomorrow and play better.”

Michael A. Taylor had four hits, including a homer. Jack Suwinski and Yasmani Grandal also went deep for the Pirates, who have struggled to generate offense much of the season, the main reason Pittsburgh is below .500 (42-45) despite a starting rotation that has the lowest ERA in the National League since June 1.

Jeff McNeil hit his fifth home run for New York. Pete Alonso added two hits for the Mets, who have dropped three straight and five of seven while playing without closer Edwin Diaz. He will return on Saturday from a 10-game suspension for having a banned substance on his pitching hand late last month.

Skenes wasn’t particularly sharp early but retired 11 of his final 12 batters to bolster his chances of making the NL All-Star team when pitchers and reserves are named this weekend.

“I’d love to be there,” Skenes said. “But it’s obviously not my decision to make.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: C Francisco Alvarez was hit on the left elbow by a 99 mph fastball from Skenes in the fourth inning. Alvarez was tended to by trainers for several minutes but remained in the game.

Pirates: RHP Jared Jones is shut down for at least two weeks due to a right lat strain. … C Henry Davis (concussion) had no issues during his first minor league rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.

UP NEXT

The four-game series continues on Saturday. Left-hander David Peterson (3-0, 3.51 ERA) gets the start for New York. Bailey Falter (4-6, 3.87), who has just one victory in the last six weeks, gets the nod for the Pirates.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

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