NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto may have limped into the All-Star Game earlier this month, slumping and recovering from a hand injury. Since returning from Miami, however, he has proven that his first career selection was no fluke.Conforto homered twice in the Mets' 7-5 win over the A's on Friday
NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto may have limped into the All-Star Game earlier this month, slumping and recovering from a hand injury. Since returning from Miami, however, he has proven that his first career selection was no fluke.
Conforto homered twice in the Mets' 7-5 win over the A's on Friday at Citi Field, matching his career high with four RBIs in his fourth career multi-homer game.
The power showcase included a 450-foot shot that was the longest of Conforto's career, and a more modest 360-foot homer that made it a four-run game in the seventh. In eight contests since the All-Star break, Conforto is batting .323 with four home runs, two doubles and nine RBIs.
"It was just going to take a few games for me to get back in the swing of things," Conforto said. "You play enough games, you're going to have plenty of ups and downs. So you've just got to stay even-keeled and ride it out."
The longer of Friday's two homers came off Oakland rookie Paul Blackburn, who gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings in his fourth career outing. It was the first in which Blackburn did not give the A's a quality start.
Blackburn took the loss while Mets starter Steven Matz, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter after just five innings and 83 pitches, received a no-decision. Matz permitted three straight hits to open the game, including Ryon Healy's RBI single and the first of Marcus Semien's career-high-tying four knocks. But he settled down to give up just two other runs.
"Our at-bats were good throughout the entire game," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When we had some guys on, we had our best guys up and felt like we were in a pretty good spot, but we couldn't come up with anything there, and that was probably the key."
It wasn't until the eighth that the A's made things hairy, plating two runs and loading the bases with two outs. But after Mets manager Terry Collins pulled Addison Reed from what would have been a five-out save chance, Jerry Blevins popped up Yonder Alonso and struck out Khris Davis to end the threat, then added three more outs in the ninth to record his first save.
"It's a lot of outs," said Blevins, typically a one- or two-batter specialist. "I'm just glad it went five in a row."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The longest long ball: Conforto gave the Mets their first lead in the third inning on a two-run homer off Blackburn, sending it toward the Shea Bridge in right. Statcast™ projected the ball to land 450 feet from home plate, easily Conforto's longest home run as a big leaguer. It plated Matz, who moments earlier had singled for the Mets' first hit.
"I'm not trying to hit the ball 450 feet," Conforto said. "It ends up going that far, anyway, when you're nice and loose and relaxed."
Taking advantage: The Mets were trailing by a run when a walk and two singles -- including one that deflected off Healy, injuring him -- loaded the bases. T.J. Rivera followed with a base hit up the middle off Blake Treinen, who watched center fielder Rajai Davis throw out Lucas Duda at third. But when third baseman Matt Chapman attempted to turn it into a double play, his throw sailed well wide of second base, allowing Rivera to scamper all the way home.
"Just trying to get rid of it in a hurry and make a play and just missed it, obviously to the right," Melvin said. "Everybody's trying to back up, and nobody's there at that point." More >
"This is my home. This is my team. I love these fans. I can't say that enough that this is my home." -- Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, responding to a newspaper story alleging that he wants to finish his career in Oakland
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Blevins' five-out save was the longest of his career. He had not recorded five outs in a game in any circumstance since a two-inning stint for the Nationals against -- who else? -- the Mets in 2014. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
No sooner did second-base umpire Stu Scheurwater call Davis out on a stolen base attempt in the fifth inning than Davis jumped up and looked toward his dugout, imploring A's manager Bob Melvin to challenge. Melvin did, and won, which allowed Davis to race home one batter later on Semien's RBI single. Semien later stole second and scored, as well.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Healy was on the ground for several moments after Duda's one-hopper, which resulted in an infield hit in the fifth inning, appeared to strike him near the left temple. He received medical attention on the field, eventually walking off with a trainer by his side. Alonso entered the game at first base in place of Healy, who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI. More >
Athletics: The A's will send lefty Sean Manaea to the mound for Saturday's 4:10 p.m. PT matchup with the Mets at Citi Field. Manaea is 7-2 with a 2.92 ERA over his last 11 starts, dating back to May 20.
Mets: Because the Mets pulled Matz after just five innings, they will look for more length than usual out of right-hander Zack Wheeler in a 7:10 p.m. ET game against the A's on Saturday at Citi Field. Wheeler has pitched into the seventh inning just three times in 16 starts.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.