– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NEW YORK — The fairytale plot twists that surely would rejected constantly by Hollywood for being too Hollywood somehow continue to happen in real life to the New York Mets.
Utility infielder Luis Guillorme, with zero career home runs to his name and possessing a career batting average below the Mendoza Line going into Saturday night, smacked a pinch-hit, game-tying home run to start an eighth-inning rally that propelled the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals, extending New York’s winning streak to eight games.
One night after New York stormed back from a three-run ninth inning deficit to shock the Nats by scoring four in the ninth, the Mets continued to sprinkle magic dust onto Citi Field in the form of Guillorme, who led off the bottom of the eighth after Nationals Juan Soto had hit a solo shot in the top of the frame to give Washington a 3-2 advantage. Guillorme worked the count full on reliever Fernando Rodney before lacing a shot over the right-field fence to once again create frenzied celebrations in Queens.
Guillorme, who had 67 at-bats in his Major League debut season last year, was called up after Robinson Cano’s hamstring injury in Pittsburgh last week and remained on the active roster even after New York’s recent acquisition of former Giants second baseman Joe Panik. His ability to put the ball in play from the left-handed side of the batter’s box kept him from being sent down, though what the Mets got last night was an added bonus.
I’ve been up and down all year, Guillorme said after the game. “I was just happy they believed in me to help the team win.”
The Mets have belief in spades at the moment, and after J.D. Davis’s sacrifice fly later in the inning with that bases loaded that scored Panik, the Mets once again made good of the quote made famous by former Mets manager and New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra.
It’s déjà vu all over again. Or, put in another way…
“It’s normal right now,” said Mets utility man Jeff McNeil.
Seth Lugo, who allowed Soto’s home run in the eighth, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the victory, New York’s 15th in its last 16 games.
All of Washington’s three runs came off the bat of Soto, who hammered a two-run shot off Mets starter Noah Syndergaard to straightaway center field in the top of the first to open up the scoring. In the series, Soto, who now has 24 homers on the season, is 5-for-8 with three dingers and five runs batted in in two games.
Syndergaard settled down from that point, lasting seven innings while giving up just those two runs. New York was able to level things in the fourth inning when J.D. Davis and former Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos hit back-to-back solo home runs off Washington starter Patrick Corbin to tie the contest at 2-2.
New York’s win moves them to within a half-game behind the Nationals for second place in the National League East, with the Mets playing division leader Atlanta on the road for a three-game set starting on Tuesday. Until then, there is at least one more game with the Nationals at Citi Field to try and create another Hollywood ending.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by ALOST photographer Arturo Holmes. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 22 pictures in total.