PITTSBURGH -- Late Friday night, manager Clint Hurdle tried to describe the hero of the craziest night of a crazy Pirates season.
"A couple hits. A rundown and a walk off," Hurdle said. "I asked him how he enjoyed his night off."
Josh Harrison was left out of the starting lineup, but his off-night ended when the Bucs needed help and he had to come off the bench and change into his superhero costume.
On cue, Harrison delivered an RBI double with two outs in the 11th inning to give the Pirates a 3-2 victory over the Mets.
Jumping on Vic Black's first pitch to score Clint Barmes, who had drawn a one-out walk, wasn't even Harrison's best feat of the night. That would be his Houdini-like escape from a 10th-inning rundown -- which itself unfolded after he had singled and stole second on a play unsuccessfully challenged by Mets manager Terry Collins.
"That's probably something I learned back in middle school. From fire drills -- stop, drop and roll," Harrison said, unable to wipe the ear-to-ear grin off his face.
The grin had far less to do with the fantastic basepath dodge than with the hit that gave the Bucs their sixth win in seven games
A sellout crowd of 37,952 watched the Mets survive the bizarre 10th before the Pirates (41-39) moved two games above .500 for the first time since April 11 (6-4) on the threshold of the season's actual halfway mark.
For a club that staggered soon after leaving the gate, being assured of a winning record at midpoint is of no small significance.
"There are different mile markers along the way," Hurdle said. "Our goal has always been to get a little bit better every day. We believe we're in the right lane, heading in the right direction."
Following a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati on the last homestand, Hurdle called on the Pirates to play more efficiently to "get some of these one-run games coming back our way."
Since, they have won four consecutive one-run games. The latest was also their seventh walk-off win, most in the Majors.
The end-game dramatics made sure that Brandon Cumpton's brilliance was not in vain. On a night the Pirates were operating with a thin bullpen and desperately needed length from their starter, Cumpton sailed through seven innings for the second consecutive start. He held the Mets to two runs on six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts.
"He continues to get out there and compete. He got sharper as the game went on. He keeps going out there, getting things done," said Hurdle, who will be part of a difficult decision before Gerrit Cole makes his comeback start Saturday afternoon.
Either Jeff Locke, Vance Worley or Cumpton will have to give up his rotation spot for Cole.
"I'm just trying to do my part," Cumpton said, "and not mess up, with all these starters going out there and throwing seven innings."
For the second time in a month, however, New York's Jacob deGrom matched him. Writing virtually the identical line, deGrom allowed five hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts and three walks.
Russell Martin had a major role in the Pirates' game-tying rally in the fourth. He was aboard with an infield single when Ike Davis hit a likely inning-ending double-play grounder to second. But soon after taking Daniel Murphy's feed, shortstop Ruben Tejada felt Martin steamroll through his legs and didn't attempt a relay throw to first, leaving runners at the corners.
Pedro Alvarez then drew a walk to load the bases, and Jordy Mercer hit a sharp two-run single to center, tying it at 2. Mercer had been hitless in five previous at-bats with the bases loaded this season.
The Mets had scored twice in the top of the inning, when Cumpton nonetheless displayed his grit. Lucas Duda followed Tejada's leadoff single and Murphy's double with a two-run single down the first-base line. Still in a no-out jam, Cumpton induced Chris Young to bounce into a force, then picked him off first base. A grounder by Eric Campbell ended the inning.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.