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Mets hope Edwin Diaz’s return boosts bullpen vs. Pirates

New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz is set to return on Sunday following a 10-game suspension for violating MLB’s policy on foreign substances, providing much-needed relief for a beleaguered bullpen.

The Mets continue a four-game series against the host Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday after giving up seven home runs in Friday’s 14-2 loss.

Bryan Reynolds and Rowdy Tellez each homered twice, including one grand slam apiece, as the Pirates tied a franchise record for homers in a game.

Reynolds recorded the sixth career multi-home run game of his career and tied a career high with six RBIs.

Tellez has homered four times in his last five games for Pittsburgh, which is battling the Mets and others in a crowded NL wild-card race.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Tellez said. “We’re taking it game by game, win by win, but hopefully we’re playing some October and November baseball.”

New York has lost three straight and five of its last seven. The Mets tied a franchise record for home runs allowed in a game on Friday, but shortstop Francisco Lindor refused to linger on the loss.

“Every loss counts the same to me,” Lindor said. “It doesn’t matter if we lose to a last-place team or a first-place team. I don’t want to lose; I hate losing. It doesn’t feel good.

“However, I understand that it’s only one game. We’ve just got to find a way to bounce back tomorrow and play better.”

The Mets should receive a spark from Diaz, who had seven saves before his suspension. New York went 5-5 without the two-time All-Star.

New York manager Carlos Mendoza was forced to rely heavily on relievers Reed Garrett, Adam Ottavino, Dedniel Nunez and Jake Diekman during Diaz’s absence.

“Getting (Diaz) back is going to be huge for us going forward and then in a big stretch going into the All-Star break where we kind of put our statement where we are at,” Garrett said.

New York’s David Peterson (3-0, 3.51 ERA) and Pittsburgh’s Bailey Falter (4-6, 3.87) oppose each other Saturday in a matchup of left-handers.

Peterson allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

Andrew McCutchen is 1-for-11 with a home run against Peterson, who owns a 3.00 ERA in two career games (one start) versus Pittsburgh.

Falter snapped a streak of four consecutive losses with a solid outing against the Atlanta Braves last Sunday. He allowed one run over five innings in a 4-2 victory.

Falter entered that game with a 6.63 ERA in his four previous starts, but he struck out five while relying on his impressive slider.

“I held it a little bit deeper and it’s been moving a little bit more right for me, instead of being like a cutter,” Falter said. “We’re getting some good results with it.”

Brandon Nimmo is 3-for-10 with a home run against Falter, who is 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA in five career games (four starts) versus the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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