Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Pirates 3

PITTSBURGH -- The 2014 season is halfway in the books.

The Mets grabbed an early five-run lead against Gerrit Cole in his return from the disabled list and held on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Saturday at PNC Park. Wearing throwback uniforms from the Brooklyn Royal Giants of the Negro Leagues, the Amazin’s snapped a three-game losing streak.

Halfway through their regular-season schedule, the Mets own a 37-44 record.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Eric Young Jr., wearing a traditional Negro Leagues uniform, receives congratulations after scoring on Daniel Murphy's two-run single in the second inning.

Out of control: Jonathon Niese lost his control in the fourth at an inopportune time, but he ultimately limited the damage.

The southpaw issued three straight walks, including consecutive bases-loaded free passes to Pedro Alvarez and Chris Stewart to force in runs, as Pittsburgh clawed within 5-2. Niese then rallied. He consecutively struck out Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco to strand three Pirates on base.

Niese’s line in a 98-pitch effort: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.

He has now gone 20 straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer, the longest active streak in the majors and tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history. Dwight Gooden had a club-record 29 straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer in 1985. Johan Santana had 21 straight spanning 2008-09. Tom Seaver had 20 straight in 1974 and ’75.

Bob Waterman of the Elias Sports Bureau notes that Gooden had a 1.48 ERA and averaged eight innings per start during his streak, whereas Niese has a 2.92 ERA during his streak and is averaging 6 ½ innings per start.

Jeurys Familia followed with two perfect relief innings, during which he required only 12 pitches, before handing the ball to Jenrry Mejia for the ninth. Mejia, also perfect, earned his first save since June 15 and eighth of the season.

Running wild: The Mets stole five bases, two shy of matching the franchise record (May 14, 2009 at San Francisco, which included four by David Wright). Eric Young Jr. had three of Saturday’s steals. Eric Campbell added his first in MLB.

Curtis Granderson netted the other, on a double steal with E.Y. Jr. in the second inning. Daniel Murphy then plated both with a single as the Mets’ lead swelled to 5-0 against Cole.

David who? Subbing for Wright, Campbell went 3-for-4 with two doubles to lift his average to .307. His first-inning double plated Ruben Tejada with the opening run in a three-run frame.

What’s next: Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.67 ERA) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez in Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. finale. Colon is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA and .191 opponent batting average in his last seven starts.