The ball was rattling around in deep left-centerfield and Sean Rodriguez had triple on his mind. And then Yoenis Cespedes showed off one of his five tools -- the big arm.

The Mets lost to the Pirates in extra innings for the second straight game, 5-3, in 14 Saturday night at Citi Field. But Cespedes helped get them to extra innings, nailing Rodriguez at third from near the edge of the warning track for the second out in the ninth.

"Just going out and getting the ball and throwing the ball where I was supposed to throw it, and it just works out that I get the out," Cespedes said through an interpreter.

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There were others who didn't have the same low-key reaction. The centerfielder's throw was a one-hop strike to Juan Uribe. The play wasn't even that close.

"I saw it on TV; it was pretty impressive," said Jon Niese, who worked the first six innings. "We all know he has a great arm, an accurate arm, and it was good to see him use it there."

It was Cespedes' first outfield assist since being obtained from the Tigers on July 31. It was his 10th of the season and 45th of his career.

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"We all heard he's got a great arm and, boy, he showed it on that play," Terry Collins said. "And not just a great arm, but what an accurate throw from way out there. They say he's special. We're seeing lots of signs of it."

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Lucas Duda missed four games with a lumbar strain but pinch hit with two outs in the 12th and worked a walk. "Day by day,'' he said, "it's getting better."

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"We made sure he had plenty of time to make sure he was loose every time he was possibly going to hit," Collins said. "He's making headway, I think. We're certainly targeting Tuesday getting back in that lineup for sure."