Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz stands on the mound after...

Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz stands on the mound after he allows the Cardinals to score during the ninth inning at Citi Field on Thursday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It was raining hard at Citi Field in the ninth inning on Thursday night and the umpires called for the grounds crew to put down the tarp.

The Mets, who had a two-run lead and were three outs from victory, wanted to keep playing. Pete Alonso was screaming at the umpires to let the game continue.

 Unfortunately for the Mets, it worked.

The umpires told the grounds crew to roll the tarp back up. After a nine-minute delay, Edwin Diaz allowed a pair of two-out runs as the Cardinals tied the score at 4.

  The game went to the bottom of the ninth, but the heavy rain kept falling. Umpires called for the tarp at 10:04 p.m. and this time they meant it.

After a wait of 50 minutes, with the rain still falling, the game was suspended at 10:54. It will be resumed at 6:10 p.m. on Friday before the regularly scheduled game, which will not start before 7:10.

“The good thing,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, “is the game’s not over yet.”

If the tarp had stayed on the field before Diaz threw a pitch and the game was then called, the Mets would have had an eight-inning, 4-2 victory. But it’s also more likely the umpires would have waited much longer for the rain to stop so the Cardinals would still get a chance to bat in the top of the ninth.

Callaway said he didn’t have a problem with how the umpires handled the situation.

“They did all they could,” he said. “Obviously, they were about to tarp because it was coming down hard. It lightened up. They’re trying to get a game in.”

  Umpire crew chief Jeff Kellogg told a pool reporter, “It started to lighten up, and we said, ‘Ok, maybe we can work with this.’ . . . It wasn't an easy one.” 

   After waiting, Diaz opened the ninth by walking Marcel Ozuna. Diaz retired the next two batters and was one out away before Kolten Wong banged an RBI double off the leftfield wall to make it 4-3.

    Harrison Bader followed with a double down the leftfield line. Amed Rosario received the relay throw with a chance to throw out Wong at home, but the Mets shortstop dropped the ball in the wet conditions as Wong scored the tying run.

    Bader, who had rounded second, wiped out in the dirt as he tried to stop running and was thrown out trying to get back to second to end the inning.

Callaway said it’s possible Diaz could pitch the 10th inning on Friday if the Mets don’t score in the ninth to win it.

The game was tied at 2 when the Mets scored a pair of runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Dominic Smith and sacrifice fly by Rosario to give Jacob deGrom a chance to claim his fourth win of the season. DeGrom completed the seventh inning with a season-high 116 pitches. He allowed two runs and six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

 The Cardinals scored first on Matt Carpenter’s two-out, third-inning single through a vacated shortstop position. The Mets had the shift on, and deGrom showed he was no fan of that strategy when he doubled over as he watched the slow bouncer go into centerfield.

 After the game, deGrom said he checked and found that Carpenter hadn’t hit a ball in that spot in a year. But in the moment, after the inning ended, deGrom threw his glove against the dugout wall.

 “He battled and got to 3-2 and you make a pitch and feel like it’s an out and you look  back and nobody’s there,” deGrom said. “I was frustrated. I think anybody would be.”

  The next time up, the Mets did not shift against Carpenter.

   The Mets took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning on Michael Conforto’s two-run homer to right-center. It was Conforto’s 13th home run of the season.

   Paul DeJong tied it at 2 with a homer in the sixth.

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