Michael Conforto’s late homer gives Mets much-needed win over Phillies

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PHILADELPHIA — A spirited first inning was nearly forgotten by the time the Mets came to bat in the ninth inning Saturday night, but Michael Conforto brought it all together.

A four-run rally in the first and Conforto’s go-ahead homer in the ninth added up to a much-needed Mets victory, 5-4 over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets snapped a three-game losing streak, finally showing a semblance of offense.

But the Mets suffered casualties. Brandon Nimmo departed the game during an at-bat with a left index finger contusion (X-rays were negative) and J.D. Davis was removed with a sprained left hand.

The Mets received a gift call in the seventh, when it was ruled Andrew McCutchen had gone out of the baseline trying to avoid Francisco Lindor’s tag while running to second base. Lindor threw to first base, completing the double play with Matt Joyce running.

Conforto led off the ninth against Hector Neris and cleared the right-field fence with his second homer of the season. To that point, Phillies pitchers had retired 14 straight batters.

Taijuan Walker glided into the sixth, in which he allowed a leadoff single to Rhys Hoskins before Alec Bohm hit a shot into the right-field seats that tied it 4-4. Suddenly, the four-run cushion the Mets had gifted Walker had completely disappeared, as his lineup, in the early innings, employed the familiar tactic of leaving runners on base. Entering play, the Mets were last in the major leagues with a .176 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Aaron Loup, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz combined for three shutout innings in relief. Diaz earned his third save with a perfect ninth that included two strikeouts.

Over six innings, Walker allowed four earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk. In his previous start, Walker had fired seven scoreless innings against the Nationals last Sunday.

The Mets broke out big in the first inning, sending eight batters to the plate against Zack Wheeler and scoring four runs. That came after they had scored just two total runs in their previous 30 innings.

Pete Alonso smashed an RBI double to deep center to start the parade, after Lindor was hit by a pitch and Jeff McNeil walked. Conforto followed Alonso with a sinking line drive to left that eluded McCutchen for a two-run double, extending the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Davis’ RBI single brought in the inning’s fourth run. Dominic Smith singled for the Mets’ fourth hit in the inning, but James McCann hit into a double play before the Mets could extend their lead further.

The Phillies regained two of those runs in the second. After Andrew Knapp’s RBI ground out brought in a run, Wheeler stroked a single to right that sliced the Mets’ lead to 4-2.

Smith heard boos each time he was introduced, a night after his jawing with reliever Jose Alvarado led to both benches emptying, without punches thrown.

Smith finished 2-for-4 at the plate for his first multiple-hit game since the Mets’ last road trip, which included three games at Wrigley Field.

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