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Michael Conforto gets nice send-off in Mets' final home game

Michael Conforto of the Mets and first base

Michael Conforto of the Mets and first base coach Tony Tarasco reacts after a game against the Marlins at Citi Field on Thursday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The 2021 Mets gave their fans something nice to remember them by in their home finale.

Pete Alonso hit two home runs and was robbed of a third, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam and Michael Conforto had three hits and two RBIs in what could be his final home game as a Met in a 12-3 drubbing of the Marlins at Citi Field.

The Mets improved to 47-34 at home, but just 76-83 overall. They will finish the season with three games against the newly crowned NL East champions in Atlanta.

Conforto got a standing ovation from what was left of the crowd of 24,312 after a diving catch for the second out of the ninth inning. Conforto, a Met since 2015 who is a free agent after the season, teared up in rightfield, then again when he was hugged by his teammates after the final out, and again during his postgame Zoom call.

"It all hit me toward the end of the game," he said. "Obviously, making that play and hearing the reaction from the fans. There's a lot going on from when I'm standing out there. Fans cheering my name and telling me, ‘Don't go’ and stuff like that. It really was a special night for me."

Of the fans’ reaction, Conforto said: "I don’t really how to describe it. It’s just love. And it’s mutual."

There’s no crying in baseball, but winning pitcher Rich Hill also got choked up when asked about notching his first victory as a Met. The 41-year-old allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings and said he’d like to come back in 2022.

Just about the only one not to get too emotional was Luis Rojas, who was asked before the game about this possibly being his final home game as Mets manager.

"We don’t know, yet, right?" Rojas said. "We have to get there first and find out what’s going to happen. I enjoyed my time here the last two years, being the manager. It’s been fun every day just working with the guys and connecting with them and preparing. We haven’t achieved what we wanted to achieve, but first of all, the atmosphere in the clubhouse has been, for me, one of the most important things that I can think of these last two years here, and how everyone gets along in the clubhouse, how everyone just prepares and gets ready to play to go out there . . . But as far as what you said before, we have to wait and see what happens in that situation."

Team president Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday that what’s going to happen is he wants to make a decision on the current manager and coaching staff "as soon after the season as possible."

He also dropped a pretty easy-to-read bread crumb about how it may end for Rojas.

"I’m big on process. But ultimately, results matter," Alderson said. "And if you don’t have good results over a period of time, then the process may not survive. So I’m appreciative of all of those positives that have been mentioned over the course of the year — you know, Luis’ relationship with the players, etc. But, ultimately, we have to be governed to some extent not just by the process and by what goes into the results, but the results themselves."

At least the results were good for one night. Lindor’s eighth-inning grand slam was his 20th of the season and ninth in September.

Lindor’s 10-year, $341-million contract extension will begin next season -- and he has owner Steve Cohen’s ear -- so he was asked what he thinks the Mets need to do in the offseason.

"It starts with the front office," said Lindor, who signed autographs after the game. "I know Steve is going to hire a great group of people in the front office and then it comes down to the players."

The Mets trailing 3-2, scored four runs in the fourth and added six in the eighth.

Alonso had solo homers in the second and eighth and was robbed of a three-run homer in the fourth on a leaping catch in center by Magneuris Sierra. Alonso has 37 home runs.

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