SEATTLE -- Michael Conforto celebrated a return to his hometown with a pair of home runs, and Neil Walker highlighted his return from the disabled list with the go-ahead RBI as the Mets rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Mariners on Friday in the opener of a three-game Interleague
SEATTLE -- Michael Conforto celebrated a return to his hometown with a pair of home runs, and Neil Walker highlighted his return from the disabled list with the go-ahead RBI as the Mets rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Mariners on Friday in the opener of a three-game Interleague series at Safeco Field.
Conforto, who attended high school in nearby Redmond, kick-started a three-run rally in the eighth inning with his second solo shot of the night to tie the game off reliever Marc Rzepczynski. Walker, in his first game back from a six-week absence with a hamstring injury, and Curtis Granderson then hit back-to-back run-scoring singles off newly acquired Mariners reliever David Phelps as the Mets (48-53) won for the seventh time in their past 10 games.
"He's got a great fan base here. He had a lot of people tonight. It's exciting for him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But it's a win for us. It took a lot of people. Mike had a big night, but he had some help."
The Mariners had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead, but their bullpen -- which had the second-lowest ERA in the Majors in July -- couldn't hold on. The loss dropped Seattle to 51-53, 4 1/2 games back of the Royals for the second American League Wild Card berth.
"I thought we were in a pretty good spot and had a fresh bullpen tonight," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "It's the first home run Rzepczynski has given up to a lefty all year. Obviously, Conforto had a good night, and Phelps wasn't quite as sharp as we've seen him. It's going to happen once in a while. Unfortunately, tonight wasn't a great night to have it happen because I thought we were in a pretty good spot with the 5-4 lead."
Ariel Miranda struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings for Seattle, though he gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. Jay Bruce launched a two-run homer off Miranda in the first, his 27th of the season, and Conforto led off the third with his 20th.
• Miranda fans career-high 10, but homers hurt
Mets starter Rafael Montero allowed just three hits in 4 2/3 innings, but the right-hander surrendered five runs -- thanks in part to a season-high five walks -- and a solo home run by Mike Zunino in the third. He took a no-decision, thanks in part to Conforto.
"It's a dream come true for me to be able to play out here, let alone get two home runs and get a comeback win tonight," Conforto said. "It was a really fun game all around."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk this way: The Mariners took the lead with a four-run fifth inning, helped greatly by a trio of free passes from Montero. A leadoff double by Mitch Haniger and single by Jarrod Dyson put runners on the corners to get things started, but Montero muddied his own waters with command issues. A wild pitch allowed Haniger to score, and Robinson Cano plated Dyson with a sacrifice fly before Montero was lifted after his third walk of the frame loaded the bases. Southpaw reliever Josh Edgin came on to face Kyle Seager, who delivered a go-ahead two-run single through the left side against the shift to give Seattle a 5-4 lead.
Conforto's homercoming: The Mariners brought in lefty specialist Rzepczynski to face Conforto in the top of the eighth with a 5-4 lead, but that didn't stop the hometown kid as he ripped his second homer on a line drive just over the fence in right field to tie the game. It was only the ninth home run given up to a lefty in 789 plate appearances over a nine-year career by Rzepczynski, coming on a 1-0 sinker that Conforto drove 343 feet into the short porch in right to ignite the Mets' winning rally.
"He just jumped on a sinker," Rzepczynski said. "It's just one of those little frustrating parts I'm going through right now. Not many lefties have done that to me in my career. I tip my cap to him. I have to go back and watch the pitch. If it was up, it was up and it was a bad pitch and he hit it out."
• Seattle native Conforto flexes in Safeco debut
"I had so many friends out in the center-field bar area just wearing me out all game. … I can't repeat most of it." -- Conforto
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Conforto, with his 20th and 21st on the season, is the second Met under 25 years old to hit 20 or more homers before the end of July. David Wright was first to achieve the feat, entering August with 22 as a 23-year-old in 2006.
Nick Vincent threw a 1-2-3 seventh for Seattle to set a club record with 25 consecutive home appearances without allowing a run, breaking George Sherrill's record of 24 set in 2007. Vincent has 24 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings at Safeco this season.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mets successfully challenged a hit-by-pitch call on Jean Segura in the sixth when the Mariners shortstop appeared to take a ball off his left hand from Mets reliever Hansel Robles. Segura doubled over in pain and drew a visit from the Mariners' athletic trainer, but a quick review showed the ball glanced off the knob of his bat and not his hand and the call was overturned. Segura then singled up the middle on the next pitch but Seattle did not score in the inning.
Mets:Jacob deGrom (12-3, 3.30 ERA) looks to become the second pitcher in franchise history to win nine consecutive games when the Mets return to Safeco Field Saturday for a 4:10 p.m. ET rematch with the Mariners. Over his eight-start run of excellence, deGrom is 8-0 with a 1.61 ERA.
Mariners:Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.58 ERA) makes his second start since being moved back into the rotation in Saturday's 1:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco. The 31-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and three runs -- on three solo homers -- in a five-inning no-decision against the Yankees after allowing just one run in 11 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.