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The Mets got a pitching performance worthy of extending their winning streak.
The bats, better late than never, finally followed suit.
After looking like they would waste Marcus Stroman’s strong start in a pitchers’ duel against John Means, the Mets pulled out a walk-off rally in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win to extend their winning streak to six games Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Patrick Mazeika played hero for the second time in four games, once again as the last man off the bench. He pinch hit with the winning run on third base and one out and rolled a grounder to first base. Trey Mancini threw home, but Jonathan Villar dove headfirst underneath the tag of catcher Pedro Severino to win it.
Kevin Pillar had nearly single-handedly saved the Mets earlier in the inning, which the Mets entered trailing 2-1. He led off by cracking a deep fly ball to left field that was initially called a game-tying home run, but the umpires gathered and determined that it was, in fact, a foul ball.
Pillar came back to single and Villar followed with a single of his own to put runners on first and second for James McCann, who fouled off a bunt attempt before striking out.
Dominic Smith, who had entered the game in the eighth inning as an injury replacement for Albert Almora Jr., came through with a single to score Pillar from second and tie the game 2-2 before Mazeika won it.
After cruising through six shutout innings on just two hits, Stroman gave up a pair of hard-hit singles to the first two batters he faced in the seventh. Rio Ruiz followed with a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
The Mets then intentionally walked catcher Pedro Severino to load the bases for Means — who had thrown just 74 pitches through six shutout frames, coming off of his no-hitter last week. The Orioles responded by pinch hitting for Means with the lefty-swinging DJ Stewart, leading Mets manager Luis Rojas to pull Stroman — at 90 pitches — for left-hander Aaron Loup.
The Orioles had the last answer, wasting Stewart and pinch hitting righty Pat Valaika, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field to take a 1-0 lead.
An inning later, the Orioles doubled that lead, but not before a scary scene involving Almora. Austin Hays led off the eighth with a fly ball to deep center, which Almora raced back for at full speed and briefly corralled in his glove. But just as he caught it, he smashed facefirst into the wall with a loud thud upon impact, which jarred the ball loose and allowed Hays to reach for a triple.
Almora stayed on the ground for a few minutes before finally walking off the field under his own power to an ovation from the crowd.
Trevor May got the next two batters to strike out, but Freddy Galvis laid down a perfect bunt single with third baseman Villar playing back to push the Orioles’ lead to 2-0.
The Mets put together a rally in the bottom of the eighth but it got cut short. After pinch-hitter Tomas Nido and Francisco Lindor walked, Michael Conforto lofted an RBI single to make it a 2-1 game. But Pete Alonso grounded into an inning-ending double play.
McNeil, meanwhile, exited the game after the third inning. He tried to stretch a single into a double but pulled up short of second base, leaving with what the team called “body cramps.”
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