PITTSBURGH -- The Mets head into the All-Star break with a 41-50 record.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis greets Eric Young Jr. at the plate after a first-inning run.
Dillon Gee (7-7) limited the Pirates to one run, unearned, on five hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings.
Gee departed with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh and the Mets holding a 4-1 lead. In his return from the disabled list, Scott Atchison entered and struck out Starling Marte looking on a full-count offering to preserve the three-run cushion.
“You look at the games we’ve played here, we’ve had a chance to win them,” Terry Collins said. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out. So you’ve got to take that and say, ‘Listen, let’s take this break. Let’s rebound. Let’s come out in the second half strong.’
“That’s what we haven’t done the last two years. We’ve come out in the second half after having great first halves and been flat. I think we’ve got to realize that the way we played in the last two weeks, or two and a half weeks, is a positive.
“We’re moving this way,” the manager continued, motioning upward, “and not any other direction. Let’s just get some energy back, get your legs strong again, and let’s get after it. But certainly you don’t want to get swept going into the break.”
What’s next: Some rest, except for David Wright and Matt Harvey. Harvey is widely expected to be named the NL All-Star starter at a 1:30 p.m. press conference Monday in the Caesars Club at Citi Field. Wright will compete in the 8 p.m. Home Run Derby, which will be televised by ESPN.
The Mets regroup Thursday with a late-afternoon workout at Citi Field. Jeremy Hefner is slated to face right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Friday as the Mets open the second half against the Philadelphia Phillies.