New York Mets' Pete Alonso is greeted in the dugout...

New York Mets' Pete Alonso is greeted in the dugout after his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Thursday, May 18, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Before this week’s series with the MLB-leading Rays, the Mets went 4-9 against some of the dregs of baseball. That led some to wonder if the Mets were going to end up as one of the surprise dregs of baseball. 

But these Mets could just end up being a group that doesn’t do things the easy way. Win a series against Detroit, Colorado, Cincinnati or Washington? The Mets failed at doing that. 

Win a series against the Rays? That the Mets could do. 

Slumping Tommy Pham beat out a dribbler to third for a go-ahead single in the sixth inning and the Mets went on to a 3-2 victory before 29,946 on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. 

A day after they used three late-inning home runs for a rousing comeback victory, the Mets (22-23) won in more conventional fashion to take two of three from the Rays (32-13). 

It was the Mets’ first series win since they took two of three from the Dodgers in Los Angeles a month ago. 

“For us just to be able to scratch out two out of three against them is big for us,” said David Robertson, who overcame a one-out double in the ninth to convert his eighth save. “We needed one of those for our confidence. We’ve been battling hard. We just haven’t been able to get the big hits when we needed them or get the big outs when we needed to. For us to turn around today and play a nice, tight game with a team that’s really good and to be able to pull it out, big win for us.” 

 

With the score tied at 2 in the sixth, Jeff McNeil led off with a single against reliever Zack Littell (0-1) and moved to third one out later on a single by Brett Baty.  

That brought up Pham, who had snapped an 0-for-17 streak on Wednesday, but had struck out and popped up in his first two at-bats on Thursday. 

Pham sent a slow grounder to third baseman Isaac Paredes, legging it out as McNeil scored the go-ahead run. 

Manager Buck Showalter has lamented the number of hard-hit balls Pham has had turned into outs. So maybe they even out? 

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, they’ll even out,’ “ Showalter said. “That’s [nonsense]. They don’t even out. It’s about five to one. Hitters will tell you that. Pitchers won’t. I thought we had some breaks go our way today that haven’t been coming our way.” 

Pete Alonso, still suffering with a sinus infection that has him “sick as a dog,” according to Showalter, homered for the third straight game. 

Alonso’s major-league leading 16th home run was a massive, 446-foot solo shot to the left of the Home Run Apple in centerfield in the fourth. 

“Can we find something that would keep him sick?” Showalter said. “With lesser symptoms?” 

Alonso, his stuffed-up nose as red as Rudolph’s, answered: “I can play well when I’m not sick.” 

Tylor Megill (5-2, 3.88 ERA) allowed two runs in six innings for the victory. Megill gave up four hits, walked one and struck out four. 

Brooks Raley (perfect seventh), Jeff Brigham (pop-up, double play grounder in the eighth after Raley allowed a leadoff single) and Robertson completed the six-hitter. 

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first on Harold Ramirez’s one-out RBI grounder. The Mets tied it in the bottom half on Baty’s RBI grounder off Tampa Bay starter Taj Bradley (five innings, two runs). 

Alonso’s homer made it 2-1 in the fourth. Josh Lowe answered with a 440-foot blast to the right of the Home Run Apple in the sixth to tie the game at 2. 

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