Hubie Brooks singled in Mookie Wilson in the 10th inning in New York to slow Pittsburgh in the title race.
"We lost one game but it's not the end of the world," said Pirates Manager Chuck Tanner. "I'd sign a contract for the next 20 years to wake up Sept. 20 and be in a pennant race.
"I'd rather lose a game and be in a pennant race than be out of it and win a meaningless game."
With one out, Wilson started the Mets' winning rally with a single off Kent Tekulve (7-5). Wilson then stole second just ahead of a strong throw by catcher Tony Pena.
Brooks singled to short center field, easily scoring Wilson and making a winner of reliever Carlos Diaz (3-1).
"I hate to see that man come out of the bullpen," Brooks said of Tekulve. "He's always had good success against me. I don't even know what I hit."
Wilson had stolen second on Tekulve's first pitch to Brooks.
"No excuses," said Tekulve, who didn't even throw to first. "I just forgot who was running."
Losing, 4-2, the Mets had tied the score with two runs in the ninth. Darryl Strawberry led off with a single off Tekulve and wound up at third after two ground outs. Rusty Staub then hit a grounder to first baseman Jason Thompson, who first bobbled the ball, then overthrew Tekulve covering first base as Strawberry scored and Staub was sent to second.
Staub was replaced by pinch runner Jose Oquendo and Keith Hernandez was walked intentionally. Ron Hodges singled to score Oquendo, but pinch runner John Stearns was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Joe Orsulak.
With the score 2-2, the Pirates went ahead with two runs in the top of the ninth. They began their rally against Diaz with Lee Lacy's single. He was safe at second when Diaz made a late throw on Pena's sacrifice bunt. Jim Morrison then sacrificed the runners ahead and Dale Berra was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Bill Madlock, batting for starter John Candelaria, hit a high chopper in front of the mound and Diaz's throw home, attempting to force Lacy, was late and the tie was broken. Pena scored on a fielder's-choice grounder by another pinch hitter, Brian Harper.