In a game that swung wildly from chaotic to poetic and nerve-wracking to soothing — all in the final few minutes — the Mets held on for a win, 3-2, over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
That makes two victories in a row for the Mets (74-70) against Arizona (75-70), which came to Queens this week as perhaps the hottest team in baseball, winners of 11 of 13. The Mets picked up a game in the National League wild-card race and are three games behind the Cubs for the last wild-card spot.
This one had the type of signature performances you would hope for in a late-season game with playoff implications: Todd Frazier driving in all three Mets runs with a pair of doubles, Zack Wheeler allowing a lone run in seven innings, and Justin Wilson nailing down a four-out save in a wild ninth inning.
“We’re having as much fun as we can,” Frazier said. “You think you’ve seen it all until that last inning. We’re focused on trying to win every game we can, no matter how, no matter what it looks like. We’ll take tonight.”
The chaos: Wilson had runners on the corners with one out in the ninth when Ketel Marte, an NL MVP candidate, slashed a soft line drive to first, where Pete Alonso knocked it down.
But instead of tagging pinch runner Tim Locastro and stepping on the bag for a game-ending double play, Alonso let Locastro run toward second and took the one out at first base. Then he fired to Frazier at third, where Nick Ahmed retreated back to the bag, and Frazier threw to second, where Locastro had safely arrived.
“That was a heads-up baseball play. I told Pete that after,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Pete did an unbelievable job under the hardest of circumstances.”
Asked if he expected Alonso to throw him the ball, Frazier said with a laugh: “Younger guy, you don’t know really what he’s going to do. He kind of spazzed out.”
The poetry: That wild sequence brought Wilmer Flores to the plate for his specialty — last inning, game on the line at Citi Field. The Mets’ all-time walk-off king with 10 game-ending RBIs, Flores is playing against the Mets this week for the first time.
“He’s done it more than anybody at Citi Field,” Callaway said. “It was going through my mind, no doubt about it.”
Wheeler said: “We’ve all seen him do it plenty of times. It was a little nerve-wracking.”
And Frazier: “Of course it had to be him.”
This time, though, Flores didn’t come through. He swung and missed at Wilson’s 33rd pitch to end the game.
“(Wilson) didn’t have his best stuff, he didn’t have his best command, but he dug deep and got through it,” Callaway said.
The nerves: As the ninth played out, Edwin Diaz, a leading source of Mets-related agita, waited in the bullpen, ready. Callaway stuck with Wilson in what he called “a very difficult decision.”
Such is life for the Mets on nights like Tuesday, when Seth Lugo is unavailable (two innings Monday).
“I just had to,” Callaway said. “We all know the struggles that Diaz has had.”
The soothing of nerves: The Mets relaxed only when Flores made the last out. It was Wilson’s first save and first appearance of more than three outs since April 2.
The Mets will try to do it again Wednesday on a day, Callaway said, that they might be missing both Lugo and Wilson. But they at least got this one.
“Everybody in the bullpen is going to have to step up at some point,” Callaway said. “Right now, we have to win that day. We’ll do anything to do that.”