– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
NEW YORK — The bottom half of the sixth inning saw the New York Mets benefit from a ball that popped out of an outfielder’s glove, a sure out that turned into a second chance. Two batters latter came another pop, from the bat of Michael Conforto, that led the Mets to a win at the beginning of their most important home stand of the season.
Conforto blasted a tie-breaking two-run home run in the sixth inning before the Mets tacked on late in a 9-2 victory over Cleveland at Citi Field on Tuesday. J.D. Davis also hit a two-run homer for New York as the Mets began a pivotal nine-game home stand, one which will see it play three playoff-contending teams in a row, on a positive note.
Cleveland helped to gift-wrap the game-winning runs for the Mets when, with one out in the bottom of the sixth and the game tied at 2-2, left fielder Oscar Mercado dropped a pop up off the bat of Joe Panik. After Pete Alonso was called out on strikes for the second out (and what should have been the third out), Conforto launched a 1-2 pitch off Cleveland starter and All-Star Shane Bieber over the wall and into the bullpen in right field.
New York put the game out of reach with four more runs in the seventh, as Amed Rosaro and Panik came through with run-scoring singles before Alonso drove in his 96th and 97th runs of the season with a double.
Steven Matz continued his stellar pitching at Citi Field, going 6.1 innings and allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out seven to earn the victory. Reliever Justin Wilson came in with runners on first and second for Cleveland in the seventh and struck out both Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramírez to end the scoring threat and preserve New York’s two-run lead at 4-2.
Matz, now 8-7 on the season, improves his record to 6-0 in 12 stars at Citi Field this season with a 2.07 ERA in 61 innings.
The only earned run Matz allowed was a solo home run by Jason Kipnis with two outs in the second inning to open up the game’s scoring. New York answered back in the bottom of the frame when Wislon Ramos began the inning with a single before Davis lined an 0-1 pitch from Bieber over the centerfield wall.
Bieber pitched six innings and allowed four runs while striking out seven. Kipnis had two of Cleveland’s six hits on the night.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday 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 39 pictures in total.