NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto continued to produce for the Mets in the leadoff spot, reaching base four times and scoring three runs to help fuel a 7-5 win over the Angels, clinching a series victory on Saturday night at Citi Field.The Mets took a 7-2 lead into the ninth
NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto continued to produce for the Mets in the leadoff spot, reaching base four times and scoring three runs to help fuel a 7-5 win over the Angels, clinching a series victory on Saturday night at Citi Field.
The Mets took a 7-2 lead into the ninth after a three-run eighth, but the Angels mounted a last-ditch rally after loading the bases with no outs against reliever Neil Ramirez. Closer Addison Reed was brought in to clean up the mess, but he walked Cameron Maybin to force in a run and gave up an RBI single to Kole Calhoun to cut the Mets' lead to 7-4. Michael Trout's sacrifice fly brought the Halos within two, but Reed struck out Danny Espinosa with the bases loaded to end the game.
Jose Reyes, who hit behind Conforto in the No. 2 spot, also helped set the table for the Mets' offense and finished 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs, notching his 2,000th career hit with a single in the first inning. It was also a milestone night for Terry Collins, who managed his 1,013th Mets game to surpass Davey Johnson as the longest-tenured skipper in franchise history.
"After seven years of watching games like that, we might as well have that one be exciting," Collins said.
Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler held the Angels scoreless through the first five innings, but he unraveled in the sixth and could not escape a bases-loaded jam, cracking the door open for the Angels and prematurely ending his night. Wheeler was ultimately charged with two runs on four hits over five-plus innings.
"It definitely wasn't my best," Wheeler said. "Five walks wasn't what I wanted."
Right-hander Robert Gsellman tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Wheeler, allowing only one hit. The Mets have had Gsellman in the bullpen this week because they don't need a fifth starter, but they could also use him in the role later in the season. Starters Steven Matz and Seth Lugo recently began rehab assignments in the Minor Leagues, meaning New York could have more rotation options by early next month.
Angels rookie Alex Meyer could not make it out of the fifth, surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits while walking four and striking out seven over four-plus innings.
"His stuff was terrific, and you saw some of the things that he did well in his last start, but he just had trouble getting into that zone again," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The top of the order did a great job. They seemed like they were on base every time up, and Alex just had a tough time getting into the zone and putting some guys away."
• Meyer flashes stuff, but sees mixed results
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mets double their lead in the fifth: The Mets loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but Meyer yielded only one run on Neil Walker's forceout to minimize the damage. Meyer could not work out of a second bases-loaded jam in the fifth, however. With the Mets leading, 2-0, Meyer gave up a leadoff double to Conforto and a walk to Reyes. Jay Bruce then reached on a fielding error by Cliff Pennington to load the bases with no outs and chase Meyer from the game. Scioscia brought in left-hander Jose Alvarez to face Walker, who drove in his second run of the night with a single to right field. The Mets extended their lead to 4-0 via T.J. Rivera's sacrifice fly.
Reyes delivers in the eighth: The Mets carried a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but they scored three runs to build a five-run cushion, which later proved vital in preventing the Angels' comeback. Lucas Duda ignited the big inning with a two-out double off Yusmeiro Petit, and Scioscia intentionally walked Rene Rivera to bring up pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores. The Angels had a chance to end the inning after Rivera strayed too far off the bag on Flores' RBI double, but they botched the rundown after Andrelton Simmons dropped a relay throw from Jefry Marte, allowing Rivera to slide safely back to third. Reyes capitalized on the miscue by smacking a two-run single to right field, giving the Mets a 7-2 edge.
"That's just a poor ball game on the defensive end," Scioscia said. "We let too many things get away from it, opened the table up a number of times for them. We've got to tighten that up. That's the major reason we lost the game tonight, and it's uncharacteristic of our club. Tonight, we just did not play a good game."
"To do this job, have this job, is a tremendous privilege. To be in one spot for seven years has been an unbelievable experience. To me, it's a humbling experience. The fans in New York energize you every day. It's been a great experience." -- Collins
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Meyer collected his first career hit after lining a single to right field in the third. It was Meyer's first plate appearance since 2008, when he was in high school in Indiana. The 6-foot-9 Meyer is tied for the sixth tallest player to ever get a hit in big league history. Only Jon Rauch, Christopher Young, Andrew Brackman, Randy Johnson and Eric Hillman were taller.
"The first pitch, I don't even think I got my foot down in time before it was in the catcher's glove," Meyer said. "I had never seen anything like that before. Somehow, luckily, I was able to scramble a way to get on base."
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
When Trout batted with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Mets holding a three-run lead, everyone watching wondered if New York would have been better off walking him. Everyone, including Collins.
"The first thought is, 'I'd almost try to walk this guy [rather] than pitch to him,'" Collins said. "Those are the kinds of situations where you look back at the time when Buck Showalter walked [Barry] Bonds with the bases loaded rather than pitch to him."
So he seriously thought about it?
"Oh, absolutely," Collins said.
Angels: Right-hander Jesse Chavez (3-5, 4.22 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels on Sunday afternoon as they close out their three-game series with the Mets at 10:10 a.m. PT at Citi Field. In five career relief appearances against New York, Chavez has logged a 3.86 ERA across 4 2/3 innings.
Mets: Left-hander Tommy Milone (1-1, 6.25 ERA) makes his third Mets start in Sunday's series finale at Citi Field at 1:10 p.m. ET. Milone, who is taking the rotation spot that belonged to Noah Syndergaard before Syndergaard went on the disabled list, allowed seven runs in 10 2/3 innings in his first two starts for the Mets.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Mets on Saturday.