Luis Rojas says it all the time, even when it ultimately doesn’t matter: The Mets fight to the end.
On Friday, as they crossed the halfway point of their season, the Mets fought till the end — and this time it mattered.
They rallied twice to sweep the Yankees in a doubleheader: 6-4 in the first game, 4-3 in the second when pinch hitter Amed Rosario’s two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman gave the Mets a walk-off win at Yankee Stadium.
Because of the doubleheader, each game was only seven innings. Because the late game was a makeup of a postponed contest from last weekend at Citi Field, the Mets batted last.
If that caught you by surprise, don’t feel bad. You weren’t alone.
“I was so focused in that at-bat that I forgot we were the home team and that was the end of the game,” Rosario said through an interpreter. “Then, as I’m rounding the bases, I see the players coming out of the dugout and I’m saying, ‘Whoa, we just won the game right here.’ ”
Dominic Smith added: “I think Chapman didn’t even know, really. I think he was asking for another ball after the pitch. It goes to show how weird this season has been.”
The opener provided Mets highlights, too. They trailed by four with seven outs to go, but the Mets (15-16) got a tying three-run homer from Pete Alonso, a go-ahead homer from Smith and a tack-on homer from Jake Marisnick in the sixth inning.
“Our lineup is capable of doing that,” righthander Michael Wacha said, “every single time.”
All of the damage came off reliever Chad Green, who woke up Friday having allowed one homer out of 49 batters faced this season (and that lone long ball came Wednesday, in a doubleheader against the Braves). This time he faced six hitters and gave up three dingers.
Each homer had extra significance. Marisnick’s came on his first day back after a month on the injured list with a strained hamstring. Alonso’s broke an 0-for-13 skid amid his underwhelming — but still above-average — month. And then there was Smith, whose tearful news conference Wednesday led to the Mets skipping their game Thursday in protest of racial inequality.
After that emotional sequence, Smith put the Mets ahead — on Jackie Robinson Day. That wasn’t on his mind in the moment, though. “This is my safe haven. This is where I get away from all the stresses in my life,” he said. “In the moment, rounding the bases, I didn’t think about it too much. I was just happy to put my team in the lead.”
Wacha was impressed.
“For him to come through there was unbelievable,” he said. “Just a great human being, man. Very passionate and loves this game more than anything. One of the best teammates I’ve been around. It’s been an honor getting to lace them up with him.”
The late fireworks meant the Mets’ starting pitchers, Wacha and lefthander David Peterson, weren’t the bad guys after poor returns from the injured list. Each had dealt with inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Wacha allowed four runs and six hits in three innings — most of the damage done by the top of the Yankees’ order, Luke Voit and Clint Frazier. Peterson lasted four innings and gave up three runs, all in the third inning, when he faced a sudden bout of wildness. He walked three batters that frame — and in the game — including Gary Sanchez (.130) on four pitches with the bases loaded.
“I couldn’t be happier with how the arm is feeling, how I came out of it,” Wacha said. “Obviously, I wish the results would’ve been a little bit better on my end. But I was just really excited to get back out on the mound and have it feeling good again.”
Peterson said: “The biggest thing that hurt me was some walks that are completely unacceptable. I hold myself accountable for those. That’s something we need to clean up going into the next one.”
The bullpen contributed seven scoreless innings on the day, letting the lineup do what it does: fight.
“They’re special,” Rojas said. “I’m glad they’re having fun. I’m having fun with them.”