Aaron Loup ‘was essential’ for much-needed Mets’ win

PITTSBURGH — Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz weren’t available a day after both relievers got bludgeoned by the Pirates, so the Mets turned to others for big outs Sunday.

That meant Trevor May working a scoreless ninth for his second save after Drew Smith, Miguel Castro, Aaron Loup and Jeurys Familia combined on 7 ²/₃ shutout innings.

The left-hander Loup continued his magic by pitching the fifth and sixth inning scoreless, escaping a bases-loaded jam with nobody out in the later frame by striking out three straight batters against the top of the batting order.

“[Loup] was essential for this win,” manager Luis Rojas said after the Mets beat the Pirates, 7-6, at PNC Park. “This guy is throwing the ball so well this season and he had to come in a little early, but he did a fine job for us and May came in and close the door.”

A night earlier, Lugo and Diaz combined to allow nine runs over the final two innings in the Mets’ 9-7 loss. Sunday’s Herculean bullpen effort was needed after Taijuan Walker got removed in the first inning with the Mets behind, 6-0.

Aaron Loup
Aaron Loup
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“I had told Tai after he came out of the game, before we made it down to the bullpen, that we were going to pick him up and not to worry about it,” Loup said. “At the time I loaded the bases I told myself, ‘We’re getting back in the game, the offense picked us up, it’s 6-4 and we can’t go down like this.’ I managed to make some good pitches and squeak out of it.”

Jerad Eickhoff will start Monday’s game in Cincinnati. The right-hander last pitched on July 11, when he surrendered two earned runs over 2 ²/₃ innings against the Pirates at Citi Field. Eickhoff’s biggest issue this season has been keeping the ball in the park — he has allowed six homers in 12 ²/₃ innings.

Rojas did not announce a starter for Tuesday against the Reds, but indicated at least one more arm could be arriving from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets have an opening on the 26-man roster after Jacob deGrom was placed on the injured list.

Carlos Carrasco has been throwing between starts, according to Rojas, but the manager said he didn’t have any information yet on where the right-hander’s next rehab appearance will occur. Carrasco threw two innings for Single-A Brooklyn on Thursday in his first rehab start.

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