Don’t blame the kids.
As this Mets season teeters on the edge, as the manager’s job hangs in the balance, the young players have been a continued bright spot.
That trend continued Tuesday night, with Amed Rosario beating out an infield single to send the Mets to a dramatic 6-5 walk-off victory at Citi Field over the Nationals after they rallied from deficits in the seventh and eighth innings.
On a 3-1 pitch, with runners on second and third, Rosario hit a chopper toward shortstop. Trea Turner sat back on the ball and clutched once, enabling the speedy Rosario to beat it out and setting off a celebration on the infield. Edwin Diaz got the win in relief after tossing a scoreless ninth inning.
It capped a wild evening that saw Pete Alonso become the Mets’ all-time rookie home-run leader prior to the All-Star break and J.D. Davis — the one offseason acquisition that has worked well — bash a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh, only for Jeurys Familia to blow the lead five pitches into the following frame.
Alonso returned energy into the building after the Nationals went ahead, blasting a 1-2, 99 mph fastball from Tanner Rainey that pulled the Mets even at 5-5. The towering drive, his 16th of the season, traveled an estimated 417 feet at 112.2 mph and just stayed fair, bouncing off the windows of the restaurant where the left-field foul pole ends.
Alonso is now sixth among Mets rookies for most home runs, with Darryl Strawberry owning the record of 26 in 1983. Of course, it’s only May.
Called upon the night after getting four outs and throwing 17 pitches, Familia was tattooed for two runs in one-third of an inning, as his ERA ballooned to 6.50. It didn’t help that Jeff McNeil, playing right field for the first time in his career, misplayed the opening out of the inning into a single. Trea Turner followed with a run-scoring double and Juan Soto plated the game-winning run with a double off Daniel Zamora. When Familia walked off the mound, he heard boos — the same boos Robinson Cano heard during his feeble 0-for-4 night in which he failed to get the ball out of the infield.
Manager Mickey Callaway went for it in the home seventh, pinch hitting for Juan Lagares that resulted in a makeshift outfield. It did work, as Dom Smith walked and Davis followed with a three-run shot to right field. At the time, it looked like it would make a winner out of Zack Wheeler, who fared much better in his third start this year against the Nationals, allowing four hits and three runs over seven innings. He entered the seventh cruising, having faced the minimum over the previous three innings. But he allowed a one-out single to Gerardo Parra and Brian Dozier made him pay for a hanging 1-1 slider, blasting it over the left-field fence to snap a personal 0-for-37 drought against the Mets.
Wheeler also allowed a solo home run to Soto in the second, leaving a 1-2, 97 mph fastball over the heart of the plate. Despite the two long balls, Wheeler was far better than he had been two previous poor starts against the Nationals in which he allowed a combined 13 earned runs over 10 ²/₃ innings.
The Mets had chances early, but hit into hard luck against Nationals starter Erick Fedde. With runners on the corners in the second, Carlos Gomez sharply grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Rosario ended the third by lining out to right field, stranding McNeil. And Todd Frazier closed the fourth with a two-hopper Turner turned into another twin killing.
The Mets broke through in the fifth, on McNeil’s run-scoring single off Dozier’s glove, pulling even at one.
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