Friday, August 9, 2019

Mets Stage Late Comeback To Walk-Off Against Washington

The Mets celebrate a huge win. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals and win, 7-6, on Friday night at Citi Field.

Trailing by three runs heading into the inning, Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer to tie it and then Michael Conforto hit a deep shot to right field for the game-winning hit.

The Mets have now won 14 of 15 games to improve to 60-56 and they are on the cusp of the second wild card spot as they entered the day a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Mets have now won seven straight games for the second time in two weeks and are now a Major League-best 20-6 since the All-Star break.

"It's outstanding," Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said afterwards. "I think that they believe in something and they're going after it."
This was the Mets' fourth walk-off win of the season, with the last coming on May 25 against Detroit.

It was also their 15th final at-bat victory, and their 26th come-from-behind victory.

With Sean Doolittle on for the Nationals to close it out with a 6-3 lead, the inning opened with J.D. Davis lacing a double down the line, followed by a single for Wilson Ramos.

That brought Frazier to the plate and he launched a bomb into the right field corner for the three-run homer that tied it and sent Citi Field into a frenzy.

That was Frazier's 11th career go-ahead/game-tying home run in the ninth inning or later, as well as his third with the Mets and second this season. It was his 15th home run of the season.

Joe Panik then hit a seeing-eye hit just past second Washington second baseman Brian Dozier.

Juan Lagares was up next to pinch-hit for pitcher Luis Avilan, and 
he was up there to bunt. 

Lagares popped it up right in front of the plate and Anthony Rendon ran in from third base to grab it and fire to second to force out Panik.

Doolittle then got Jeff McNeil to fly out to right field for the second out.

Next up was Amed Rosario, who singled to keep the inning alive and give the Mets two on and two out.

Conforto then followed with a blast to right field, and it went over Adam Eaton's head for a hit, and Lagares raced around to score the winning run and send Citi Field into a frenzy.

The whole Mets team followed Conforto into center field for the celebration, which left him without a shirt on when it was over.

Callaway said of how the inning unfolded in the dugout, "I really liked who we had coming up, first and foremost, right. Doolittle's in the game. They have a left-handed closer, we have three of our righties coming up that do pretty good damage against lefties. Before you know it, three batters later, we're tied. It's like, okay, let's get a rally going, let's get on base, and Panik was 1-for-1 off of him. I know it's left-on-left, but he was 1-for-1, so let's take the chance, let him hit, and he hits a groundball up the middle.

"Lego (Lagares) tries to get the bunt down, it pops up just enough for Panik to hesitate, which he had to do so he didn't get doubled-off. It's just base hits. Rosie (Rosario) continues to be clutch, and he gets big hits very often for us, and then our lefty tops it off, Michael Conforto.

"It was just about three hitters and bam, you're tied, and then, ok, let's start a rally and let's get one run, and we did the job."

Callaway said of the Mets' success against Doolittle this season, as they also came back against him on May 21, and what he saw in the ninth, "I think we're doing a good job of getting him up (in the strike zone) but not up too much, right. When he elevates up above the path, he's going to be tough. You have to also lay off anything he might throw underneath the zone, so we're doing a good job of hunting pitches kind of middle-up that we can handle and doing damage to him.

"The last one to Conforto's the perfect example. Left-on-left, that's a tough assignment. He leaves kind of middle up, thigh-high, and we get on top of it and put a good swing on it. So, they're really trying to stay on top of the ball with him, make sure they're not swinging underneath."

The Mets have now won nine straight at home and are 33-20 at Citi Field. This is their longest home winning streak since September 27, 2014-April 23, 2015 (12 games).

They have now won five straight at home against the Nationals, their first such streak since the franchise relocated to Washington in 2005. They are 9-5 against the Nats overall this season.

Callaway said of the playoff atmosphere tonight and how his young players performed in those conditions, "I think you're always curious about that. Some of them haven't had the chance to do that. That was definitely a playoff-type atmosphere tonight, and the young guys stepped up and did a great job. So, you're curious, but our players are up to the challenge, no matter what it is."

This 14-1 stretch is the Mets' best 15-game stretch since they went 14-1 during a 16-1 run from June 17-July 6, 1990.

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