Mets climb back to .500 behind Harrison Bader’s game-winner off Pirates’ Aroldis Chapman

And just like that, the Mets are back to .500.

Harrison Bader’s tie-breaking two-run double against Pirates reliever Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning Monday proved to be the game-winner in the Mets’ 6-3 victory at Citi Field, evening their record for the first time since Opening Day.

It’s the second day in a row Bader emerged as the hero, having also broken a scoreless tie with a run-scoring infield single in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 2-1 win against the Royals.

“Any way to get it done for your team to push a run across in a [big] situation, they all feel great,” Bader said after Monday’s win.

Bader’s booming double off Chapman’s 98-mph fastball was much more emphatic than Sunday’s decisive dribbler.

With runners on second and third, one out and the infield in, Bader smoked Chapman’s 1-1 offering down the left-field line to give the Mets a 5-3 lead. Bader and Chapman were briefly teammates with the Yankees in 2022, which the center fielder said helped prepare him for Monday’s key at-bat.

“I knew from center field he has really good stuff. That’s all you kind of need to know to formulate your approach,” Bader said. “He changed his mechanics a little bit with the way he’s delivering the ball. … I was just trying to take a short swing to the ball and just play with what’s in front of me. I’m just happy that I got a pitch to handle for my team.”

Bader later came around to score on a Brandon Nimmo force out, beating second baseman Jared Triolo’s throw home.

Monday marked the fourth two-hit game in a row for Bader, a native of Bronxville, N.Y., who signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the Mets in the offseason. He’s now batting .302 after carrying a .192 average through his first eight games.

“I’ve seen a confident player at the plate,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “He’s controlling the strike zone, and when he’s getting pitches, he’s putting good swings on it.”

Bader’s go-ahead hit completed a come-from-behind victory in a game the Mets trailed 3-0. They tied the game in the sixth inning with a three-run rally, which D.J. Stewart punctuated with a pinch-hit RBI double.

Mets starter Adrian Houser gave up two runs in 5.1 innings, while Pirates starter Martin Perez allowed three runs in 5.2 innings. Edwin Diaz picked up his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.

With Monday’s win, the Mets improved to 8-8, symbolizing something of a clean slate for a team that flirted with dubious history by losing its first five games. The Mets are now 8-3 since that 0-5 start, which was the third worst in team history and one loss shy of their worst start in more than 60 years.

“We got off to a rough start, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” Mendoza said. “I like where we’re at as a team.”

The resurgence includes three consecutive series victories over the Reds, Braves and Royals — a streak they’ll look to extend with another win over the Pirates this week.

Monday marked another encouraging outing for Francisco Lindor, who is heating up at the plate after a nightmare start to the season. Lindor went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run, boosting his average to .152.

It’s the second multi-hit game in a row for the four-time All-Star, who also went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s win against Kansas City. Lindor batted just .103 through his first 14 games, prompting fans to heed the advice of Mets owner Steve Cohen and shower the shortstop with encouragement throughout the homestand, which began Friday.

The Mets will look to claim a winning record for the first time this season on Tuesday night, with Jose Quintana (1-1, 3.45 ERA) scheduled to start. Pittsburgh has not announced its starter for the second game of the three-game series.