In the eighth inning of a tie game at Citi Field Friday night, the crowd of 38,495 broke into an enthusiastic, whole-stadium version of the wave.

Around and around it went as Daniel Murphy batted with a man on first. A tense situation seemed like a walk in the park for those Mets fans, who probably assumed that their first-place club was going to find a way to beat the Pirates the way they did four times against the Rockies this week.

But the Pirates are not the Rockies. The Pirates are one of the best teams in baseball, and it was Pittsburgh that pulled out a taut 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Mets.

"Outside of the 10th inning, it was a good ballgame," manager Terry Collins said. "That was a very, very good ballgame."

The Pirates scored twice in the 10th to pin the loss on struggling former closer Bobby Parnell (1-2), who was booed as he left the mound after facing three batters and allowing singles to each. The third, by Gregory Polanco, gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

"I was a little surprised," Collins said of the boos. "As well as we've played and as well as things have been going. But it's part of the game, so you just shrug and realize that that happens and move on."

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Said Parnell: "I also saw a lot of guys clapping me on. The true fans were out there supporting me. That actually meant a lot to me because it's been a roller-coaster ride this year. Losing a big ballgame like that's not fun. I saw some good fans up there showing me some support."

Pittsburgh added another run on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez off Carlos Torres.

The Mets made it 3-2 in the bottom of the 10th when Curtis Granderson's sacrifice fly drove in Juan Lagares, who had led off the inning with a double against Mark Melancon.

Melancon (36 saves) has converted 34 in a row. The Mets were 0-for-7 with the sacrifice fly with runners in scoring position.

The NL East-leading Mets remained 41/2 games ahead of the Nationals, who lost to the Giants, 8-5, in San Francisco.

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The Pirates came in with the second-best record in the National League and third-best in baseball (now 67-46). They are six games behind St. Louis in the Central, though, and are locked in a three-teams-for-two-spots wild-card race with the Cubs and Giants.

Pittsburgh swept the Mets in a three-game series in their only previous meeting in May at PNC Park. The Mets are 9-18 against the NL Central, which at the moment includes three potential playoff teams in the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs.

"They're pretty good," Collins said. "They've got a lot of weapons. They're very good. That's why that division's the way it is. Those three teams at the top are pretty good."

Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-5 and hit a solo homer for the Mets. Neil Walker homered in the first off Bartolo Colon, who allowed one run in seven innings.

Collins lamented a big missed chance in the third. With runners on second and third and none out, J.A. Happ struck out Cespedes, got Juan Uribe to pop to second and struck out Murphy to keep the Mets off the board.

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"That game got away in the third inning," Collins said. "I certainly would have lost a big bet that we wouldn't have scored a run that inning with those two guys coming up, especially against the lefthanded pitcher."