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Mets put up four-run rally in 9th to beat Rockies, keep wild card hopes alive

Mets' Todd Frazier, left, congratulates Pete Alonso as

Mets' Todd Frazier, left, congratulates Pete Alonso as he returns to the dugout after hitting a solo home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman in the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

DENVER — Finally, the Mets benefited from a Diaz blown save.

The Mets rallied in the ninth inning against Rockies relievers Jairo Diaz and Joe Harvey for a 7-4 win Wednesday. Brandon Nimmo had the tying single off Diaz. After Harvey entered, Pete Alonso got the go-ahead RBI on a bases-loaded walk and Seth Lugo added a run-scoring, line-drive single to center between his two scoreless innings.

The Mets (79-73) moved to within three games of the Brewers and Cubs for the National League’s second wild card spot. Their elimination number remained at eight with 10 games left.

“I saw them miss around Pete’s face, and with those shadows I wasn’t too comfortable up there the first couple of pitches,” Lugo said after his first at-bat of the year. “I just didn’t want to look dumb. I was just staying short and seeing what happens. I’ve been waiting for an at-bat all year, but I tried not to let it get to me.”

Alonso twice this month has drawn a bases-loaded free pass. The other was a walk-off walk Sept. 6 against the Phillies.

“He puts the fear in guys, and he should because he’s a great hitter,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s probably what he has done this year that has allowed that. They don’t want to groove a fastball to him when they fall behind, so they continue to try to make pitches.”

The Mets had a difficult time with Rockies righthander Jeff Hoffman, who yielded two runs in 5 1/3 innings. That lowered his ERA to 6.71 from 7.03.

In the first, Jeff McNeil homered into the second deck in right. In the sixth, Alonso hit his major league-leading 49th homer to left. Alonso is three homers away from tying Aaron Judge’s rookie record of 52.

That gave the Mets 225 long balls on the season, a franchise record, passing the 2017 Mets’ total of 224.

“What’s cool about that is our approach this year, we never talk about home runs,” Callaway said. “Not in spring training, not during the season. We talk about staying through the ball, taking a good approach when runners are in scoring position, hitting the ball the other way if we need to against the shift.”

The Mets are the 10th club this season to break their homer record, a result of a tweak to the so-called juiced baseballs used this year.

Does Callaway like this version of the sport?

“I’m happy for our hitters,” Callaway, a former pitcher and pitching coach, said with a laugh.

Noah Syndergaard — pitching to Rene Rivera, one of his preferences instead of Wilson Ramos — was mediocre again. He allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two. That battery also allowed four steals.

Half of those runs came on a pair of solo homers from Sam Hilliard, a rookie who entered the game hitting .195 since debuting three weeks ago. Hilliard is the first major-leaguer to hit two home runs in one game against Syndergaard. Syndergaard and Hilliard are both from Mansfield, Texas, and graduated from rival high schools two years apart.

Syndergaard said he didn’t have a feel for any of his pitches besides his fastball. His slider is good during bullpen sessions but triggers “a mental block” in games, Syndergaard said.

“It’s been the same issue for the entire year,” Syndergaard said. “I don’t know what it is. Dr. Phil or something can help me out with that.

“It was pretty disappointing overall. But at the end of the day, we got the win. That’s all that matters. The boys really bailed me out out there.”

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