This was one of those nights the Mets lineup wasn’t going to be inconvenienced by the starting rotation’s follies.
When in doubt use the long ball.
All it took was four of them on Wednesday, including an eighth-inning blast from Pete Alonso for the lead, sending the Mets to a 7-6 victory over the Orioles at Citi Field.
Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Andres Gimenez and Alonso all homered on a night Rick Porcello was roughed up early, continuing a trend of unacceptable starts by Mets pitchers. The win snapped a two-game skid for the Mets (20-24), who began the day three games behind in the race for the NL’s second wild card and holding a 30.6 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, according to Fangraphs.
Alonso continued a hot homestand with a blast to right-center leading off the eighth against Hunter Harvey. Last Thursday, Alonso hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning against the Yankees. He then went deep twice against the Phillies on Sunday.
Momentum shifted in the sixth with Conforto’s circus-like catch to end the top of the inning and Gimenez’s homer leading off the bottom of the frame to tie it 6-6.
Conforto, with his back to the infield leaped near the right-field fence and snagged Rio Ruiz’s drive, securing the ball in the webbing, after the Orioles had loaded the bases against Jared Hughes with two outs. Ruiz’s shot against Justin Wilson likely would have cleared the bases to give the Orioles a four-run lead.
Gimenez, facing lefty Paul Fry, hit his second major league homer, clearing the left-field fence. The blast was the Mets’ third of the game and completely erased the four-run hole into which they had fallen after three innings.
Jeurys Familia escaped trouble in the eighth and Edwin Diaz fired a scoreless ninth.
Conforto and Robinson Cano pulled the Mets closer in the fifth after Chasen Shreve entered in the top of the inning and surrendered a leadoff homer to DJ Stewart. Conforto launched a solo homer in the bottom of the inning before Robinson Cano snapped an 0-for-19 slump with an RBI single that pulled the Mets within 6-5.
Porcello kept the conga line moving of Mets starting pitchers who got jumped early. After David Peterson and Michael Wacha absorbed first-inning smacks the previous two days, Porcello’s opening frame consisted of four hits allowed and two runs.
Porcello’s final line included five earned runs allowed on 10 hits over four innings, raising his ERA to 6.07. As ugly as that number looks, the right-hander is still ahead of Steven Matz, Robert Gsellman and Wacha, all of whom own 7-plus ERAs.
Renato Nunez’s bloop RBI single gave the Orioles their first run. Ryan Mountcastle extended that lead to 2-0 with an RBI single.
Porcello’s troubles were just beginning. In the third Rio Ruiz smashed a two-run double before Hanser Alberto’s RBI single put the Mets in a 5-0 hole. Stewart and Mountcastle both singled in the inning to start the rally.
McNeil’s two-run homer in the fourth inning resurrected the Mets. The blast was McNeil’s fourth in as many games — he hadn’t homered previously all season — and pulled the Mets within 5-3. Dominic Smith is the only other Mets player this season to have homered in four straight games. Alonso had singled in the inning before McNeil cleared the fence in left-center.
McNeil’s RBI single in the second gave the Mets their first run. Smith doubled leading off the inning against Jorge Lopez before McNeil delivered with two outs.
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