Just call him “Walk-off Wilmer” Flores.
The Mets first baseman has some sort of knack for coming up big in clutch situations.
Flores laced a single down the third-base line that scored Michael Conforto in the 10th inning and gave the Mets a rare June victory, 4-3, over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field on Tuesday night.
The Mets (32-45) snapped a seven-game losing streak and won for only the second time in their last 16 home games.
“He wants to be up there and he gets the job done,” manager Mickey Callaway said of Flores. “I think his short, compact swing helps him have success in that big moment.”
Conforto led off the 10th with a walk and Todd Frazier followed with a single to leftfield. Asdrubal Cabrera popped up a bunt attempt that was caught by reliever Steven Brault for the first out.
But Flores, who has six RBIs in the first two games of the series, ripped an 0-and-1 pitch to score Conforto. It was Flores’ third walk-off RBI of the season and ninth of his career, tying David Wright for the Mets record.
“In that situation, I’m not trying to hit a homer. I’m just trying to see the pitch and find a hole,” said Flores, who was 2-for-5. “It happened to be a cutter in and fortunately it stayed fair.”
Tim Peterson (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for his first major-league victory.
Conforto tied the score in the seventh, smashing a 1-and-1 pitch over the fence in right-centerfield for his 10th home run that got Steven Matz off the hook.
The former Ward Melville product did not allow a hit until the fifth, when David Freese slapped a single past a diving Cabrera in the hole between first and second base.
Matz went seven innings and allowed three runs and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches, 75 for strikes.
He hit the mid-90s on a few occasions with his fastball on a pleasant June evening in a month in which there hasn’t been many pleasant evenings for the Mets and their fans.
It was an emotional win for the Mets on the day that general manager Sandy Alderson took a leave of absence because of a recurrence of cancer.
“We’re all here because he believed in us.” Matz said. “I want to prove that he was right.”
The one pitch Matz probably wishes he had back was a 3-and-2 curveball in the seventh that Gregory Polanco blasted over the rightfield wall, giving Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead.
The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Flores slapped a two-run single.
But Flores, who smacked a pinch-hit, three-run home run on Monday, saved his biggest hit for the 10th.
“You see his name coming up in the lineup,” Conforto said. “It’s ‘Let’s just hang on till Wilmer gets up there.’ He’s been amazing.”
Notes & quotes: Tempers flared in the eighth when Mets reliever Jeurys Familia took exception to the way the Pirates’ Josh Harrison slid into second base on a potential double-play attempt. Both benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. In fact, Cabrera — who was at second base on the attempt — hugged Harrison and kept the peace. Cabrera said after the game the slide was hard, but not dirty . . . The Mets recalled righthanded reliever Gerson Bautista from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned Luis Guillorme, who committed two errors in Monday’s loss against Pittsburgh. Bautista, making his third stint with the Mets, is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in 4 1⁄3 innings this season at the big-league level. Guillorme was hitting .172 (10-for-58) with four RBIs in 29 games. . Wright took batting practice for the second day in a row.
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