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Mets walk off on Nats with Amazin' rally in 9th

Conforto, Frazier the heroes as club has won 7 straight and 14 of 15
@SlangsOnSports
August 10, 2019

NEW YORK -- “You don’t feel like you’re out of a game when you’re on a run like this.” Somehow, some way, the Mets did it again, extending their recent stretch to 14 wins in 15 games with a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Nationals at Citi Field on Friday

NEW YORK -- “You don’t feel like you’re out of a game when you’re on a run like this.”

Somehow, some way, the Mets did it again, extending their recent stretch to 14 wins in 15 games with a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Nationals at Citi Field on Friday night, evoking that line from Todd Frazier. They trailed, 6-3, entering the bottom of the ninth but rallied off Nationals closer Sean Doolittle.

Box score

It was the team’s first win this season when trailing after eight innings, improving to 1-44 in such games. The Mets hadn’t won a game in which they trailed by three or more runs in the ninth inning or later since Sept. 13, 2015, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They were 0-187 in such games since that date.

But Frazier hit a game-tying three-run homer to knot the game up at 6, and the comeback was on. It was Frazier’s second career game-tying home run in the ninth inning or later. Michael Conforto knocked an RBI single with two outs for the walk-off hit, giving the Mets their seventh consecutive win.

It was Conforto’s first career walk-off hit, and as the players rushed the field, Pete Alonso ripped Conforto’s jersey off.

“When guys’ shirts come off, it’s probably a pretty good day, so that was a good one,” manager Mickey Callaway said.

The atmosphere was practically all anyone could talk about after the game.

“Today was probably the most fun I’ve had up here in the big leagues. What a game,” Conforto said. “To go down twice, to come back, to answer right back, it was special. The stadium was packed, it felt like the playoffs. The atmosphere … we fed off of that, we fed off each other, and I just happened to be the guy who was up last. I have faith that if any other guy in this clubhouse was up there, they were going to get the job done, too.”

It wasn’t the first time the Mets had gotten to Doolittle this season. He’s now allowed multiple runs in each of his last three outings against the Mets, with the other two coming in May.

The Mets are now 14-1 in a 15-game span for the first time since 1990. The only other seasons where they had at least one such stretch were 1986 and 1972. The 1986 season, of course, ended with a World Series title.

“It’s outstanding. I think that they believe in something, and they’re going after it,” Callaway said.

The Mets had won 13 of 14 entering Friday night, but that stretch came mostly against the Marlins, Pirates and White Sox. The series against the Nationals felt different.

“That was definitely a playoff-type atmosphere tonight, and the young guys stepped up and did a great job,” Callaway said.

Callaway is no stranger to exciting runs by teams -- he was the pitching coach on the Indians in 2016, when they won 14 straight games, and the following year, when they set the American League record with a 22-game win streak. The Mets’ individual streak hasn’t gone beyond seven games -- two seven-game win streaks with a loss in the middle, at the moment -- but Callaway compared this to those Indians runs.

“There’s no doubt about it, we don’t win this game tonight if it isn’t for our fans,” Callaway said. “That was unbelievable. And they stuck around. Right? We’re down three in the ninth, and they stuck around, the stadium was still packed and they were still believing and our players did the job, so that was fantastic.”

The energy and electricity was evident from the get-go in Marcus Stroman's Citi Field debut. The hurler warmed up to a song by 50 Cent and kept the Mets in the game. He was hittable, allowing nine hits, but worked out of trouble for the most part when necessary. A ground-ball pitcher, he had an atypical outing, striking out nine in a game for the first time since May 13, 2017.

“It was amazing. That was a playoff atmosphere,” Stroman said. “The second I walked out there, the crowd brought it. Extremely thankful to have their presence there, their energy. I don’t think they realize how much we feed off that and how much that gets us going and allows us to kind of elevate our game when we need to. A huge shout to the New York crowd -- we’re thankful and we love it.”

Through July 24, the Mets were 46-55 and sat eight games behind the second National League Wild Card spot, and they were 13 games out in the NL East. They’re now on the doorstep of that second Wild Card spot, just a half-game behind the Brewers, and they won the first game in a tough upcoming stretch. It seems like the crowd is about to get even louder.

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.