If the Mets make anything of this season — if they turn their losing record into a playoff bid over the next two-plus weeks — remember the top of the sixth inning of their 7-6 win against the Orioles on Wednesday.
Bases loaded, two outs. Justin Wilson, the third pitcher of the inning, in to face Rio Ruiz. The Mets already down by one. A 1-and-0 sinker swatted at 99 mph to rightfield. Michael Conforto running toward the wall, jumping, making the over-the-shoulder catch, briefly bobbling the ball, re-securing the ball and stopping himself shy of the wall. Inning over.
Pete Alonso, who hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth, said the catch was “nothing short of special.” Rick Porcello called it “a complete momentum-changer.” To manager Luis Rojas, it was “the best play I’ve seen him make.”
“The dugout erupted,” Rojas said. “Everyone just couldn’t believe he made it.”
That included Conforto.
“Definitely the kind of play [where] you’re almost surprised yourself,” he said. “That situation, you just gotta go up for it. … It definitely caught a part of the glove, kind of toward the pinky, where it’s tough to feel if it’s still in there.
“I had to squeeze in that moment really hard to make sure it didn’t pop out. Then I was still trying to make sure I still had it. I had just enough length and just enough of a jump. It all worked out.”
Conforto saved three runs and, ultimately, the game. The Mets (20-24) tied it on Andres Gimenez’s homer in the bottom of the inning and went ahead on Alonso’s team-high 11th blast, completing the comeback. Baltimore led, 5-1, in the fourth inning before the Mets started chipping away.
Jeff McNeil also homered — for the fourth game in a row — and Edwin Diaz worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to pick up his third save of the year.
“We all rallied to win that game,” Conforto said. “It was a good team win.”
Porcello’s final line spoke for itself: four innings, 10 hits, five runs (all earned). It could have been uglier, too, if not for the four runners Baltimore stranded and his perfect fourth inning.
His ERA is up to 6.07, worse than his 5.52 mark from last year, when he ranked last among qualified pitchers and was rewarded by Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen with a one-year, $10 million contract.
It got unseemly fast for Porcello. Four of the first five Orioles hitters singled, including Renato Nunez, DJ Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle on three consecutive pitches. Ruiz had a two-run double in the third.
Jacob deGrom has a 1.69 ERA, best in the National League. The rest of the Mets’ starters combine for a 6.47 ERA. Put another way, non-deGrom starters allow runs at nearly four times the rate deGrom does.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel terrible out there,” Porcello said. “I tip my hat to those guys. They were better than me tonight. They swung the bats extremely well.”
Rojas added: “Porcello was like he usually is. He’s going to come in and attack the zone, and I thought they came in with a good plan.”
The Mets treated Orioles righthander Jorge Lopez similarly, reaching him for five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. Then they did more damage against the Baltimore bullpen, while five Mets relievers combined for five innings and one run.
“This is what they are. This is how they fight,” Rojas said. “And this is what we need to be playing like for the remainder of the season.”
Notes: Robert Gsellman’s season is over because of a broken rib suffered during his 74-pitch relief outing Tuesday. The Mets called up righthander Drew Smith on Wednesday to replace him. “I was actually really, really surprised. Because it’s a rare injury,” Rojas said. “He was very emotional about it. It’s just a tough one.” . . . Is Jed Lowrie (left knee injury) doing any sort of baseball activities? Rojas: “I don't know what he's doing.”