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Mets beat Phillies on Michael Conforto's ninth-inning home run

Mets' Michael Conforto waves as he rounds third

Mets' Michael Conforto waves as he rounds third base after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Philadelphia.  Credit: AP/Laurence Kesterson

PHILADELPHIA — Even on a day when the Mets won — 5-4 over the Phillies — they lost.

Brandon Nimmo left Saturday’s game in the middle of his seventh-inning at-bat because of a bruised left index finger. It got hit by a pitch, became swollen and hurt more when his bat made contact with a pitch, hence his apparent pain and sudden exit after a foul ball. X-rays were negative.

Moments later, J.D. Davis was subbed out because of a left hand sprain, which occurred on a swing earlier in the game. No X-rays were needed, manager Luis Rojas said.

Both players are day-to-day.

 

"We expect the guys to be back soon," Rojas said. "We’ll see how they show up [Sunday]."

So already struggling to score, the Mets lost perhaps their two hottest hitters — and still pulled out a win.

Michael Conforto’s tiebreaking home run in the ninth inning on closer Hector Neris’ second pitch of the game gave the Mets a much-needed victory, their third win in their past 10 games.

Edwin Diaz retired the bottom of the Phillies’ lineup to finish it off for the Mets (10-11). The bullpen has posted 19 straight scoreless innings since April 24.

"We’re gritty," Pete Alonso said. "I know the ball hasn’t necessarily bounced our way a whole lot — whether it’s the scheduling, the COVID, weather delays — but we’re a gritty bunch. Over the course of the season, you’re going to see a lot of really tough wins.

"The entire vibe and the entire mentality of the game, I felt like from the start we knew we were going to win. And we went out there and we did it."

The vibe turned into on-field results immediately. The Mets struck early against Phillies righthander Zack Wheeler, scoring four runs in the first inning — double their total output from the previous 30 frames, a stretch that began Sunday.

Francisco Lindor’s hit-by-pitch and Jeff McNeil’s walk offered a hitless start to the rally. Alonso and Conforto each doubled, the latter through the legs of leftfielder Andrew McCutchen on a ball he could have caught. J.D. Davis added an RBI single.

Rojas said the offensive outburst came after a pair of hitters’ meetings, one of which came with a "different approach" than usual and included Alonso "talking more" than usual.

"I just wanted to relay a couple of simple messages," Alonso said. "Just go out there and hit. If you think in the box, you’re stuck. If you get caught thinking, the game speeds up. By the time your thought is finished, the ball is in the catcher’s mitt."

Conforto added: "Sometimes you dive so much into the information that’s available to you, you kind of forget what brought you to this place in the first place. And that’s sticking to your strengths, looking for a ball in your hot spot."

Wheeler didn’t let his former team score again. He settled in to finish seven innings, allowing those four opening-inning runs, striking out six and walking one.

The Phillies chipped away against Taijuan Walker, who allowed four runs in six innings. Two came in the second and two more in the sixth. Alec Bohm hit a tying opposite-field homer, a low fly ball that just cleared the tall rightfield wall.

"A situation like that — we score four early — it’s my job to keep the game in our lead," Walker said. "And I didn’t do that."

The Mets caught a break in the seventh. The Phillies appeared to have two on and one out, but second-base umpire Jose Navas said McCutchen ran out of the baseline — which he appeared not to do — on his way to second. Then Matt Joyce, initially called safe at first, was ruled out after a challenge.

That left manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies’ dugout incensed. Bryce Harper, who did not play because of a sore hand, was ejected.

"It’s a terrible call," Girardi said. "To me, the sad thing about it is it’s not reviewable because it’s a judgment [call]. Well, I’m sorry, that’s about as clear as it can be. It might’ve cost us the game."

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