With the Colorado Rockies between the Yankees earlier this week and next week’s visit by the Dodgers, the Mets are supposed to be in a brief cakewalk portion of their schedule.
The last-place team in the NL West gave the Mets all they could handle on Friday night at Citi Field.
But Mark Canha’s tying two-out, two-run double in the eighth and Pete Alonso’s walk-off two-out single in the ninth gave the Mets a thrilling 7-6 victory before 32,446 on Old-Timers’ Day eve.
It was the Mets’ sixth walk-off win of the season, Alonso’s sixth career walk-off RBI and his second in 2022.
“It’s a privilege to be put in those situations,” he said. “We had a ton of great at-bats prior to mine. I thought we did just an unbelievable job as an offense grinding and battling today.”
With one out in the ninth, Rockies reliever Daniel Bard walked Brandon Nimmo on four pitches. With his next pitch, Bard hit Starling Marte to move the winning run to second.
Francisco Lindor then lined what looked like a sure hit to left, but Sam Hilliard raced in and caught it with a dive for the second out.
Alonso fell behind 0-and-2 before grounding the game-ending single to left for his 105th RBI.
“Can you imagine having that kind of power at your fingertips and your ability and to be able to kind of give in a little bit and try to deliver what the team needs?” manager Buck Showalter said. “I mean, he’s not sneaking up on anybody. They know what he’s capable of doing, so he gets everybody’s best shot.”
Canha was hit in the elbow by a pitch in the fifth and felt pain all the way down his leg, Showalter said. Canha stayed in and gave the Mets a short-lived lead with an RBI single in the sixth. The runs driven home by Canha in the eighth were unearned because of a two-out error by Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon. Canha has 15 RBIs in his last 17 games.
The Mets fell behind 6-4 on Elias Diaz’s three-run double to right-center off Mychal Givens with two outs in the top of the eighth.
The Mets were leading 4-3 when Showalter removed starter Chris Bassitt after a one-out infield single by Charlie Blackmon. Bassitt had thrown 88 pitches.
“I don’t disagree with it one bit,” Bassitt said. “Givens obviously throws a little harder than me, maybe he’s more funky than me.”
Givens, general manager Billy Eppler’s lone bullpen acquisition at the trade deadline, allowed a single to C.J. Cron and hit Jose Iglesias with a pitch to load the bases.
Givens recovered to strike out Randal Grichuk for the second out and was 2-and-2 on Diaz before he nailed a 96-mph fastball into the right-centerfield gap to clear the bases and give Colorado a 6-4 lead.
The eighth wasn’t Colorado’s first comeback of the night. The Mets led 3-0 going into the sixth on the strength of Brett Baty’s solo homer in the third and Starling Marte’s two-out, two-run triple in the fifth.
Bassitt was throwing a four-hit shutout when things went haywire in the sixth. He gave up a single by No. 9 hitter Wynton Bernard, threw a wild pitch, walked McMahon on four pitches, gave up a two-run double by Brendan Rodgers that was nearly a three-run homer (it hit off the very top of the right-centerfield fence) and allowed a tying RBI single by Cron.
Pinch hitter Darin Ruf earned a one-out walk in the sixth against lefthander Lucas Gilbreath, who came in after Colorado starter Chad Kuhl allowed three runs in five innings.
Jeff McNeil grounded a single to center before Canha launched a double high off the left-centerfield wall. Ruf scored but McNeil was thrown out at the plate, and the Mets had a 4-3 lead.
With Eduardo Escobar close to returning from the injured list, Baty made a good case to stay in the majors with a home run to right-center on the first pitch of the third inning. Baty’s second home run was the Mets’ first hit against Kuhl and gave Bassitt a 1-0 lead.
Escobar went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter for High-A Brooklyn on Friday night. Showalter said he could be activated on Saturday.