It was the 50th anniversary of the Beatles belting out their hits in front of 55,600 at what then was Shea Stadium and now is the parking lot at Citi Field. Shea was energized that night, and the electricity again was running at full capacity in a somewhat smaller ballpark for Game 2 of a large series.

The Mets belted out a few big hits of their own Saturday night, stirring the 38,878 in the house by staging a homer-fueled comeback, scoring three runs in the seventh to tie it.

So there were these two contenders for playoff tickets, squaring off in extra innings for the second straight game.

And for the second straight game, the Pirates emerged with the victory, this time 5-3 in 14.

"Yeah, it's heartbreaking," said Jon Niese, who delivered his 12th quality start in the last 13 tries. "But you know what? We battled out there. We had a chance to win both games."

The Mets remained 4 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals, losers of five straight. Matt Harvey will try to salvage the finale Sunday.

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Former Yankee Francisco Cervelli led off the 14th with a double against Sean Gilmartin. Then first baseman Daniel Murphy made a bad throw to third on a grounder hit by Starling Marte. The fielder's choice left runners at the corners with none out. "I took a shot," Murphy said. "It was the wrong play. It put us in a bad spot."

Chris Stewart dumped a pinch-hit single into center for the lead and Sean Rodriguez followed with a bloop single to make it a two-run lead.

After winning all three games the two teams played at PNC Park by a combined count of 21-4, the Pirates took Friday night's game, 3-2, in 10 innings. Pittsburgh holds the first wild card and is looking for a third straight postseason appearance.

"So we knew coming in, this was going to be a fight," Terry Collins said before the game.

Heading into the seventh, the Mets were losing the fight, trailing 3-0 on all the scorecards. Charlie Morton had held them to two singles by Yoenis Cespedes.

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But Juan Uribe opened the inning by sending a drive over the fence in left-center. One out later, Travis d'Arnaud reached on a throwing error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Michael Conforto pulled a two-run shot over the rightfield fence to tie it.

The crowd erupted. So did Niese in the clubhouse. "I was going crazy in here," he said. "That was a great swing."

It was Conforto's first home run at Citi Field and second overall. "It's something I'll remember forever," he said.

Cespedes also did something memorable before the game went to extra innings. The centerfielder threw out Rodriguez trying to stretch a double into a triple, firing a one-hop strike from deep left-center for the second out in the ninth.

Collins said he had never seen anything like it. "Not from that distance, especially," he said.

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The night started badly for the Mets. With two outs in the first, Niese just missed on a full-count pitch to Andrew McCutchen, according to plate ump Bob Davidson. "I don't like to talk about umpires, but it is what it is," Niese said about Davidson's strike zone. "Both teams have to go with what's out there."

Ramirez deposited the next pitch over the leftfield fence for a 2-0 lead.

Gregory Polanco led off the third with a drive that would have landed in the second deck in right if the foul pole hadn't gotten in the way. Another homer, and it was 3-0. Niese was charged with the three runs and five hits in six innings.

"The last two games just goes to show you what kind of teams both of us are," he said. "I like our chances [Sunday] with Harvey on the mound."