NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores had fastball on the brain as he strode to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.Facing Simon Castro, he had a feeling he'd see a healthy diet of fastballs during the at-bat. And he was right."Looking for a fastball," Flores said
NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores had fastball on the brain as he strode to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Facing Simon Castro, he had a feeling he'd see a healthy diet of fastballs during the at-bat. And he was right.
"Looking for a fastball," Flores said after the game. "The guy throws a lot of them. I had to be ready for the fastball … I got a pitch I wanted."
Flores turned on a belt-high, 95.8-mph fastball for a line-drive home run into the left-field stands, sending the announced crowd of 39,629 into a frenzy and capping off a six-run comeback for the Mets, as they beat the A's, 6-5, at Citi Field on Saturday.
The home run gave the Mets their fourth straight win and third consecutive comeback victory, as well as their second walk-off win in three games. The A's fell to 10-14 in one-run games.
• Cabrera makes first career start at third base
After a scalding hot May, Flores cooled down and lost his starting job, but earned the start Saturday after delivering a game-tying, pinch-hit home run against the Cardinals on Thursday. He continued his clutch streak with another swing of the bat Saturday.
"Work ethic," Mets manager Terry Collins said when asked how Flores has stayed ready to contribute.
"I mean, it's just like last year when he didn't play a lot, he was primarily playing sporadically. He just kept himself ready. When he was playing every day I think it wore him down, I really do. He was swinging so good, he got so hot, he played so many days, I just think it beat him up a little bit. He's had some rest and looks great."
With two outs in the eighth inning, Travis d'Arnaud, who finished the night 3-for-3, doubled. Lucas Duda pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot and singled against the shift, erasing a five-run deficit and evening the game at 5.
It was a long climb back for the Mets on a night that began with them trailing right from the start.
Matt Joyce deposited Zack Wheeler's second pitch of the night over the center-field wall and, for the third straight game, the A's tallied 10 hits or more. Three of those, including Joyce's home run, came off Wheeler in the first when Oakland stuck four runs before starter Sean Manaea even threw a pitch. Wheeler now owns a 6.70 ERA over his last nine starts.
Manaea kept the Mets off the scoreboard for the first five innings before Jay Bruce homered through a drizzle to dead center to make it 5-2 in the sixth. The Mets had the tying run 90 feet away in that inning, but could not push Michael Conforto home from third base after his double made it a one-run game.
"[Manaea] just got a little bit out of sync," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Up until that point, he was about as good as we've seen. He had given up a few hits, but pitching the way we've seen him pitch for the better part of a couple months. And with a lead like that, usually he holds it."
Matt Chapman unloaded a solo shot into the second deck of the left-field seats in the third inning for the A's fifth run and, consequently, their final run of the game. The Mets' bullpen -- a combined effort of Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin and Hansel Robles -- pitched four scoreless frames despite allowing baserunners in each inning.
"Really and truly, we've got to score some runs in the middle innings when we've knocked their starter out and we have some of their middle guys in the bullpen in the game," Melvin said. "We have to try to lengthen our lead at that point. That worked against us too."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Making Wheeler work: It only took two pitches for the A's to jump on Wheeler with Joyce's home run -- which traveled a Statcast-estimated 425 feet to dead center for his second leadoff home run this season and sixth of his career. Wheeler threw 36 pitches in the first with eight A's coming to the plate, walking two. Khris Davis drove in a run on a single through the middle and Bruce Maxwell doubled to deep right, driving in another run. Chapman's sacrifice fly served as the final damage in the first.
"How I've been pitching lately isn't acceptable," Wheeler said. "I expect a lot better out of myself."
Not out of it yet: Manaea blanked the Mets for five innings, but Flores led off the sixth with a double before Bruce's home run gave the Mets their first runs. Jose Reyes tripled on a fly ball to the wall in left to Davis that had a 96-percent catch probability, according to Statcast™. d'Arnaud drove Reyes in with a single through the right side and Michael Conforto doubled him home. The four-run frame breathed new life into the Mets.
"Everything felt good," Manaea said. "I just wasn't making pitches, and throughout the whole game it just kind of seemed like they were crushing the ball and hitting the ball really well. I just wasn't making pitches that inning."
"The way things have been going, if you can help out in a big win like this, if you can make an impact, I think it helps the entire spirit of the club." -- Collins, on guys stepping up in the win
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Reyes tripled twice in a game for the ninth time in his career, with the shortstop's last two-triple effort coming Sept. 7, 2012 at Washington when he was with the Marlins. Reyes was also the last Met to triple twice in a game, doing so on May 9, 2011 against the Phillies.
Conforto took third on the throw home during his RBI double in the sixth, and was at first ruled out, thus ending the inning. But the Mets challenged, and a two-minute, 20-second review determined his slide beat Chapman's tag, keeping the inning alive and improving Collins' record on challenges to 16-9 on the season.
A's: The A's will have rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett on the mound for Sunday's 10:10 a.m. PT series finale matchup with the Mets at Citi Field. Gossett is 1-5 with a 5.79 ERA in eight starts to begin his career.
Mets: The Mets send Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40 ERA) to the mound as they go for the sweep. With a victory, the Mets can finish their 10-game homestand at 7-3 before embarking on a 10-game road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. E.T.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.