The New York Mets were a sleeping giant just waiting for someone to poke them, and Anthony Bass was the pitcher who suffered the consequences. Jeff McNeil‘s leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth woke up the offense, and Michael Conforto‘s awkward hit by pitch allowed the Mets to steal a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Both hitters desperately needed the big moments; the homer was McNeil’s first hit of the season, and Conforto was hitting just .176, which likely influenced him to lean his elbow guard right over the inside corner. Overall, the Mets offense left eight runners on base and was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before Conforto’s controversial HBP.
JEFF MCNEIL TIES THE GAME IN THE 9TH!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/0CXGrYBNDZ
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 8, 2021
Conforto’s hit by pitch looked like it would have been strike three, and there is no doubt that he leaned into it. Since it was not a reviewable play, there was nothing home plate umpire Ron Kulpa could do about it. If it were reviewable, it was clear as day that Conforto failed to be discreet when leaning into the curveball.
Taijuan Walker made his Mets debut and came out hot out of the gate. He reached all the way up to 97 with his fastball in the first inning. Walker started the game with 4.1 hitless innings before Brian Anderson’s single broke up the no-no. Walker’s final inning ended his start with a sour taste. Corey Dickerson‘s double tied the game at one, and Jesus Aguilar‘s single gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead they brought to the ninth. Walked finished the day with six strong innings, four strikeouts, and two runs allowed.
Nick Neidert was the spot starter for the Marlins and tip-toed out of trouble throughout his 4.1 innings pitched. He allowed three hits and five walks but held the Mets to just one run. Neidert and new pitcher Ross Detwiler had some help from center fielder Starling Marte with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. Dominic Smith drove a majestic fly ball to center field, and Marte’s leaping catch on the warning track allowed just one run to score on the sacrifice fly. It seemed like the game saving play for the majority of the game.
The Marlins bullpen kept the 2-1 lead until Bass entered the game. Bass allowed three hits, one walk, and the mystifying hit by pitch to Conforto, which ended the game. It was his second blown save of the season, and he has allowed six runs in just 2.1 innings pitched.
The Mets get Friday off, then Jacob deGrom takes the mound for his second start of the season. Trevor Rogers will take the mound for the Marlins. The first pitch is another 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.