ATLANTA -- Once again, Michael Conforto ranged toward the wall, though this time he steered clear of impact. Catching the ball, the left fielder took a beat to gather himself, coil his energy and fire.The throw was true and a video replay confirmed it: Conforto had turned a would-be game-tying
ATLANTA -- Once again, Michael Conforto ranged toward the wall, though this time he steered clear of impact. Catching the ball, the left fielder took a beat to gather himself, coil his energy and fire.
The throw was true and a video replay confirmed it: Conforto had turned a would-be game-tying sacrifice fly into an inning-ending double play Thursday, temporarily bailing out the Mets in what became a 4-3 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. And he did it despite limping off the field three innings earlier, unsure at first if he would be able to continue playing.
"It was a crazy catch," said Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who tagged Emilio Bonifacio out at home. "To get rid of it that quick and make that strong of a throw was really impressive."
As it happened, Conforto's throw was not the primary issue. It was d'Arnaud's tag that Braves manager Brian Snitker questioned, challenging both that the catcher beat Bonifacio to the plate, and that he allowed a proper lane for the baserunner to slide. After umpires confirmed both aspects via replay review, Snitker raced out to the field, where he earned a quick ejection.
"I knew it was going to be close," Conforto said. "Incredible play by Travis to catch it on the short hop and then put the tag on him. Really, that was all him. I put the throw there, but he made the play."
It was a play that Conforto nearly did not have a chance to make. On a similar fly ball down the line three innings earlier, Conforto smashed his knee into the padded fence, limping heavily as a pair of trainers came to retrieve him. But by the time Conforto reached the dugout, his leg was already feeling better, his limp lessened.
That Conforto came away with just a bruise provided considerable relief for a Mets team playing without David Wright, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Yoenis Cespedes.
"I just kind of went in there knee first and it locked up, which gave me a little bit of fright," Conforto said. "But it loosened up pretty quick after that."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.