BALTIMORE — Michael Conforto’s big day Wednesday served as another reminder — to the fan base, to the front office, to Steve Cohen: He is pretty, pretty good, and he is scheduled to be a free agent in a little over a year.
As the Mets topped the Orioles, 9-4, to snap their five-game losing streak, Conforto provided the bulk of the offense, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and nine total bases.
The four hits matched the most in a game in Conforto’s career. His slash line on the season is up to .331/.426/.534. After about a year of talking about how he felt he had another level to reach, it looks like Conforto is there.
“I felt like I left a lot of hits on the table last year. I’ve always felt like a guy that could spray the ball around, be a tougher out,” Conforto said. “[Expecting more is] something that I’m going to continue to do. I’m not going to be complacent with where I’m at. I’m going to continue to work. I’m sure at the end of this year I’ll be looking at something different.”
He put the Mets (16-21) ahead nearly immediately with a two-run home run to leftfield in the first inning. He put them ahead, again, in the fifth with an RBI double off the centerfield wall — a 406-foot shot that went an estimated 36 feet longer than his long ball. He completed his display of power to all fields by pulling another RBI double off the rigthfield wall in the seventh. And he capped his triple-shy-of-a-cycle day and the Mets’ four-run rally in the eighth with an RBI single blooped to left.
“The consistency in his approach has led to it. He’s bringing really good plans to the plate,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s looking for a certain pitch and getting it and not missing — it’s happened several times so far in the season. Some of that consistency is leading to those results, regardless of if he is facing a righty or a lefty.”
Or as starter Michael Wacha put it: “He’s a stud.”
J.D. Davis and Jake Marisnick had two hits each. Pete Alonso blasted a tall homer down the leftfield line into the upper deck — only the fifth time in Camden Yards’ 29 seasons that a batted ball has ended up there. His seven homers are tied with Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano for most on the team.
Rookie lefthander David Peterson got the win after tossing four scoreless innings — out of the bullpen. He outpitched Wacha, who allowed two runs in three innings (69 pitches). Both said afterward that the piggyback outing was the plan going in.
The Mets at least temporarily demoted Peterson, their second-best starter this season, to long reliever. Wacha and Peterson both pitched Friday in a doubleheader against the Yankees, but five days later the Mets needed only one starter — and they picked Wacha because the Orioles had a lot of righthanded hitters, Rojas said.
Peterson might get the ball in this spot’s next turn, Monday against the Phillies, according to Rojas.
Wacha labored through a 36-pitch second inning, during which Marisnick crashed face-first into the centerfield wall in pursuit of Pedro Severino’s triple. The Mets nearly got out of that inning with a lead, but Wacha’s bases-loaded, 0-and-2 fastball to Cedric Mullins clipped his jersey, forcing in the tying run.
“That really pissed me off,” Wacha said of his own flubs. “Uncharacteristic and not a very good performance out of me in that second inning. I have to find a way to be more efficient and keep the pitch count down.”
Peterson (3.03 ERA) provided stability in the form of a two-hit relief appearance that lasted one inning longer than Wacha’s start. He said it was “just like any other day” despite coming out of the bullpen.
“He’s been great,” Rojas said. “Since day one, his poise, his talent, his presentation is just a good blend of things. You’ve seen it on the field. That’s who he is off the field too.”
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