Turn those thumbs upside down.
The New York Mets overcame a 5-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning — the first time they overturned a four-run deficit in their final turn at-bat in a decade — to defeat the Miami Marlins 6-5 and extend their winning streak to three games on Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field.
With Pete Alonso on third base and Javier Baez cutting the Mets’ deficit to a single run after beating out an infield single, Michael Conforto slapped the game-winning single to left field — the ball booted by Marlins catcher-turned-outfielder Jorge Alfaro allowing Baez to score all the way from first to finish off a wild comeback that began with a Brandon Nimmo two-run home run to make it a two-run game.
“He’s extremely aware. His baseball IQ is elite,” Conforto said of Baez. “He’s got the swing, he has crazy power, he has incredible defense, and he’s a great teammate. He’s here and he’s here to win.”
A single from Dominic Smith and a double from Alonso set the table for Baez and Conforto’s heroics.
It appeared to be the same old story of 2021 for the Mets as they entered the ninth inning having gone 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine men on-base; casting further doom and gloom on a franchise that experienced a whirlwind 48 hours after Baez revealed that the team’s thumbs-down celebration was their way of booing the fans.
Shortly after he and Francisco Lindor apologized to the fan base, Baez was not featured in the starting lineup — and the offensive struggles started immediately in a game that was resumed from an April 11 rain-out with one out in the top of the first inning. The Mets put runners on first and third base with one out in the first, yet Alonso and Jeff McNeil could not drive a run home.
Directly following that chance, Taijuan Walker — who stepped in to start the resumed game — allowed three straight hits and two runs in the second inning to put the Mets in a hole. The deficit extended to three in the fifth inning when Jazz Chisholm hit an RBI ground-rule double.
Jonathan Villar pulled one back for the Mets with his 16th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and the Mets proceeded to load the bases with one out, but Smith popped up before Alonso struck out — seemingly killing New York’s chances of a comeback despite there being four innings left to play.
The Marlins nabbed another pair of runs off reliever Heath Hembree after Jesus Aguilar’s blooper down the first-base line resulted in the diverging of Alonso, McNeil, and Conforto — only for the second baseman and right fielder to collide and the ball find grass to score a pair.
Baez was introduced to a small chorus of hearty boos from a small Citi Field crowd when he pinch-hit for McNeil in the eighth inning, but those jeers turned to cheers when he was hit on the foot by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out in the frame. However, Conforto popped out to first before Villar grounded out — the former slamming his bat in the dugout in frustration as he is just 2-for-his-last-27 at the plate.
Good thing for the Mets, he kept his cool in the ninth inning.
“Kind of a hit ’em where they ain’t situation,” Conforto said. “That was a special one for sure.”