NEW YORK (AP) Maybe the Mets still have a chance to make that playoff charge. They certainly think so, and it’s showing on the field.
Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and New York rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Saturday night for its fourth consecutive victory.
After three straight comeback wins, the third-place Mets (45-50) will try for a three-game sweep Sunday and a 7-3 homestand. With several injured players finally on the mend, would that be good enough to keep this team intact beyond the July 31 trade deadline?
Article continues below ...
”There’s still a lot of baseball left,” shortstop Jose Reyes said. ”We know it’s not going to be easy, but we still believe.”
Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel Coulombe. Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in a four-run sixth to begin New York’s comeback, and Michael Conforto cut it to 5-4 with an RBI double.
Reyes tripled twice and Travis d’Arnaud went 3 for 3 with an RBI single .
”We never put (our) head down,” new third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera said. ”That’s how you come back and you win the game.
”Two months left. Nothing’s done yet. I mean, we’ve got to keep playing good baseball, and we’ll see at the end where we are.”
Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career and first for the Mets this season. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy – hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.
”The bullpen kept us in the game and wouldn’t give up,” Flores said.
Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.
Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous outing, a victory against Cleveland.
”Just got a little bit out of sync,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”Up until that point, about as good as we’ve seen.”
Wheeler went five innings and three Mets relievers kept Oakland scoreless the rest of the way. Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless ninth to win for the second straight day.
”We’ve got to score some runs in the middle innings, too, when we’ve knocked their starter out,” Melvin said. ”We have to try to lengthen our lead.”
Manaea blamed himself, though.
”At the end of the day, this loss is still kind of on me,” he said.
MAN ON THE MOVE
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once.
”Didn’t feel too bad. I feel comfy there,” Cabrera said.
His only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his big league debut in 2007 with Cleveland.
”That was a long time ago,” Cabrera said, laughing. ”I think the more I play there, I’m going to feel better.”
Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.
”I’m going to do my job in any position,” he said Saturday.
Oakland dropped to 2-10 in interleague play this season, the worst mark in the majors. … Bruce reached 25 home runs for the third straight season and seventh overall. … It was the ninth time this season – and second in a week – that the Mets gave up at least four runs in the first inning. … Reyes had two triples in a game for the ninth time in his career and first since September 2012 with Miami. Willie Mays (10) is the only player with more such games since 1950. Reyes also was the previous Mets player to accomplish the feat, in May 2011 against Philadelphia. … Flores has six career game-ending RBIs.
Athletics: 1B Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting struck near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, Melvin said. … RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb, will continue his rehab assignment Tuesday at Triple-A Nashville. RHP Chris Smith is scheduled to start Monday night in Toronto. … INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. ”That’s kind of the target area,” Melvin said.
Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of his rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. … LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
New York signed infielder J.J. Franco, the son of former Mets closer John Franco, to a minor league contract. He will be assigned to Class A Columbia in the South Atlantic League.
Oakland rookie RHP Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start Sunday against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40 ERA). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball