Conforto’s go-ahead HR in 9th leads Mets past Phillies 5-4
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Conforto hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the ninth inning and the New York Mets benefited from a very questionable call by the second base umpire Saturday night in a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Conforto also had a two-run double in a four-run first inning against former teammate Zack Wheeler. New York squandered the 4-0 lead but recovered to win for just the fourth time in 12 games — even after center fielder Brandon Nimmo and third baseman J.D. Davis exited with hand injuries.
“Conforto was ready and got his pitch,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.
Alec Bohm hit a two-run homer for the Phillies, who have alternated wins and losses in their last 10 games. Philadelphia hasn’t won consecutive games since a three-game sweep of Atlanta to open the season.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, second base ump Jose Navas ruled Andrew McCutchen ran out of the baseline to avoid an attempted tag by shortstop Francisco Lindor on what became an inning-ending double play. Replays showed McCutchen ran in a straight line from first to second.
“That was about as straight of a line as you can run,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s a terrible call. The sad thing about it is, not reviewable. I’m sorry, that’s as clear as it can be and it might have cost us the game.”
Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, sitting out after getting hit in the face by a pitch Wednesday, was ejected for arguing from the top step of the dugout.
“It definitely can test your patience,” McCutchen said. “It can definitely be frustrating when they get out of that inning like that.”
Navas was involved in another shaky call last week when Minnesota lefty J.A. Happ was trying for a no-hitter against Pittsburgh. Navas was behind the plate when he ruled Wilmer Difo out for running too far inside the baseline and thus interfering with a throw.
Philadelphia pitchers had retired 14 consecutive batters before Conforto drove an 0-1 delivery from Hector Neris (1-3) over the wall in right-center.
“I wasn’t looking to hit a splitter, but anything up in the zone you can handle is what you’re looking for up there,” Conforto said.
Trevor May (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Edwin Díaz struck out two in a perfect ninth for his third save. New York relievers have thrown 19 straight scoreless innings.
A day after things got heated in the eighth inning and the benches cleared, Wheeler plunked Lindor with a breaking ball in the first. Lindor ran to first base without incident, and no warnings were issued by the umpires.
The scene was a far cry from Friday night when Jose Alvarado struck out Dominic Smith, then celebrated and shouted in Smith’s direction. There was history between the two stemming from April 13 when Smith objected to Alvarado throwing near Conforto’s head and then hitting him. Tempers flared and Alvarado threw his glove to the ground, but both players were restrained and no punches were thrown.
Smith singled in the Mets’ four-run first, which ended with a double-play groundout by James McCann. Smith slid into second trying to break up the double play, but he and Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius embraced after they became untangled.
Conforto’s two-run double in the first helped the Mets to a rare offensive outburst. New York entered last in the majors in runs, hits, homers and RBIs and had scored a total of just 13 runs in its last eight losses.
Wheeler blanked the Mets from that point, exiting after allowing four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.
The Phillies got two runs back in the second on Andrew Knapp’s groundout and Wheeler’s RBI single to right. They tied it in the sixth on Bohm’s opposite-field, two-run homer to right.
It was the first homer allowed this season through 26 1/3 innings by Mets starter Taijuan Walker, who gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
Pete Alonso had an RBI double in the first and also singled in the third, and spoke afterward about a hitters’ meeting on Saturday in which the Mets discussed freeing their minds and having a simpler approach at the plate.
“If you get caught thinking, the game speeds up,” Alonso said. “By the time you’re done thinking, the ball is in the catcher’s mitt. Having too much (information) isn’t necessarily productive. Our sole focus was to simplify our approach, at the end of the day trying to hit the ball hard and make sure it’s leaving the box harder than it came in.”
Mets: Nimmo exited with a bruised left index finger after fouling off a 1-2 pitch in the seventh. X-rays were negative. … Davis left the game with a left hand sprain. He also was hurt at bat during a strikeout in the sixth. Both are day to day, Rojas said. ... RHP Marcus Stroman was feeling better a day after being lifted from Friday’s start after five innings and 64 pitches due to a tight right hamstring, Rojas said. … Rojas indicated that INF Luis Guillorme strained his right oblique during batting practice Friday. Guillorme is on the 10-day IL.
Phillies: Harper missed his third straight game as he continues to recover from getting hit in the face and right wrist by a pitch in St. Louis. … Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto (left hand soreness) was not in the starting lineup for the second day in a row but was available to catch and hit in an emergency, according to bench coach Rob Thomson on the club’s pregame radio show. Thomson filled in there for Girardi, who did return in time to manage the game after missing Friday’s contest for his daughter’s college graduation. Harper and Realmuto could both play Sunday, Girardi said afterward. … Gregorius was activated from the COVID-19 injured list after missing one game, and OF Roman Quinn was placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
The teams close out the three-game set Sunday night with Mets LHP David Peterson (1-3, 5.59 ERA) scheduled to face Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (1-1, 3.58).
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