Michael Conforto‘s clutch, ninth-inning, go-ahead homer had the Mets avoid being swept by the Pirates in a 7-6 win at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon.
Takeaways from the game
1) Dom Smith got on base to start the top of the ninth inning, putting the tying run on base. But Conforto had other ideas when he caught a fastball in the heart of the plate and launched it to deep center field for a two-run homer that gave the Mets a 7-6 lead. Conforto has been struggling at the dish, with his average at .202 heading into that at-bat. This one has the chance to get him good from here on out.
2) Earlier in the game, we saw the most animated version of Luis Rojas we’ve seen in his two years as Mets manager, as he was ejected for arguing a call made by home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs in the bottom of the first. After Taijuan Walker tried hitting a ball foul, it was called fair instead. And with bases loaded and no one going after the ball, everyone scored to make it 6-0.
3) Speaking of Walker, the All-Star couldn’t find the zone whatsoever with his fastball and his slider was just a spinner in his very short outing. He wouldn’t make it out of the first following that wacky play and a couple RBI double hit by the Pirates. His final line read six runs, five earned on four hits and four walks over one-third inning pitched.
4) The Mets would get back into the game thanks to Travis Blankenhorn hitting his first career homer as a pinch hitter and it was a huge three-run bomb to right center field to bring New York within two. He turned quickly on a high fastball from JT Brubaker and new it was going out – a 425-foot missile.
4) Smith tacked one another to make it a one-run ballgame in the top of the sixth with a double to right field that scored Jeff McNeil, thanks to a throwing error by Gregor Polanco. Smith had a solid day at the dish going 3-for-5 with that RBI.
5) After Walker came out, the Mets’ bullpen really held things down to allow New York back into the game. Drew Smith got the first call and gave the Mets 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and striking out two. Aaron Loup also went two innings and got himself out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam with three straight strikeouts. Miguel Castro and Jeurys Familia were also perfect, not allowing any runs.
Trevor May would close it out in the ninth.
6) Looking back at the first inning for the Mets, they had bases loaded with one out but couldn’t get a run across. In the end, that came back to haunt them.
The Mets begin a new series against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday at 7:10 p.m. No pitcher has been named for them against Cincy’s Victor Gutierrez.