NEW YORK -- Citi Field was quiet late Thursday afternoon, the Mets down to their final out, trailing by a run in the ninth. Steven Matz had pitched well in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Marlins, but not well enough, and few could blame the Mets for feeling
NEW YORK -- Citi Field was quiet late Thursday afternoon, the Mets down to their final out, trailing by a run in the ninth. Steven Matz had pitched well in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Marlins, but not well enough, and few could blame the Mets for feeling emotionally spent after watching David Wright's press conference earlier in the day.
Then, Michael Conforto jolted everyone awake with a home run to the upper deck in right. In the on-deck circle, Todd Frazier did something he rarely does, telling himself to hunt for a homer.
When he succeeded, Citi Field erupted. Back-to-back shots from Conforto and Frazier off Kyle Barraclough gave the Mets a walk-off, 4-3 win over the Marlins, marking the first time in franchise history they have ended a game with consecutive homers.
• Arms That Hammer Sweepstakes
"In my mind, I was trying to hit a home run," Frazier said. "I got a pitch to hit and it squeaked on over, so we'll take it."
The late dramatics took Matz off the hook for a loss after he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, and hit a two-run homer of his own.
Matz's long ball wasn't an isolated instance, coming a day after Zack Wheeler singled and scored twice in the Mets' win over the Marlins, and two days after Jacob deGrom extended his hitting streak to three consecutive games with his fifth hit over that stretch. Overall this season, Mets pitchers rank second in the Majors with 38 hits, and fourth in the National League with a .139 average. The bulk of that production has occurred since the All-Star break.
In some cases, it's been the Mets' only production; in two of deGrom's last seven starts, for example, he's driven home the team's only run. That seemed destined to be Matz's plight on Thursday, when Brandon Nimmo recorded the Mets' only other hit off Marlins rookie Sandy Alcantara. Following Matz's homer in the second, Alcantara retired 15 of 16, departing after walking Kevin Plawecki to lead off the eighth.
But it didn't doom Matz, who allowed back-to-back homers to Peter O'Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second inning, and watched as Drew Smith gave up a tie-breaking single to O'Brien in the seventh. The Marlins' lead lasted until the ninth, when Conforto came to bat with two outs and the bases empty.
"They've been swinging the bats well and putting good swings on mistakes, and they got two mistakes and they won a game for us tonight," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of Conforto and Frazier. "In my mind, that was a big game heading into the second game of the doubleheader. It takes the pressure off a little bit and allows our pitching to just go out there and do our thing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back: Matz hadn't allowed a hit yet when O'Brien came to the plate for the first time in the second inning, cranking an elevated sinker a projected 387 feet to center, according to Statcast™. One batter later, Matz's mistake was throwing Galloway consecutive changeups. Miami's right fielder crushed the second of them a projected 408 feet for a no-doubt home run.
"The long ball's been killing me this year," said Matz, who has allowed 24 homers in 27 starts. "The righties, I'm just leaving the ball up to them and it's been hurting me this year. But after the two homers, I feel like I settled in."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Crushed a projected 395 feet to left, Matz's first career homer tied things off Alcantara in the bottom of the second. It was the first professional home run of any kind for Matz, who never hit one in the Minors.
"It was a good feeling, I know that," he said. "I definitely got all of it, and it definitely felt good to get my first one."
HE SAID IT
"It was definitely a good win. We're playing good baseball now, so every win's a good win." -- Matz
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.