Lindor clutch as Mets rally in 9th for 'huge team win' (2024)

July 8th, 2024

Lindor clutch as Mets rally in 9th for 'huge team win' (1)

Will Aldrich


PITTSBURGH -- Edwin Díaz pointed straight to the dugout after recording the final out of Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.

The closer wasn't pointing to anyone in particular, but to the team as a whole. After a ninth-inning rally, the Mets had just stolen a game from Pittsburgh. And it was a team effort all the way around.

With the Mets trailing the Pirates, 2-1, against hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, the middle of New York’s lineup worked several tough plate appearances to get on base. Francisco Alvarez led off the inning by working a walk, before Harrison Bader singled on a line drive to center field. After both Mark Vientos and pinch-hitter Luis Torrens struck out, it was up to Jose Iglesias to extend the game.

The infielder worked an eight-pitch walk, a plate appearance that manager Carlos Mendoza called the key to the game, setting the stage for Francisco Lindor. As he has done so many times over the years, Lindor came through for his team by driving a soft line drive into left field to plate two runs for a 3-2 lead. This time, the Mets wouldn't let it go.

“I was so locked in,” Lindor said of his pivotal at-bat.

“It’s one of those [things] where I've faced him probably eight, 10 times, and he has been on the winning side most of them, and then today was my turn,” Lindor said. “That’s baseball. That’s what happens in baseball. You’re going to have good and bad days. Today was my turn.”

While the team struggled to find success in the first six innings against Pirates starter Luis L. Ortiz, Mendoza praised the resiliency of his club to stick with it.

“Huge team win,” the skipper said. “We finally scored one and then we lost the lead. The at-bats in the ninth [inning] … unbelievable.”

The Mets forced Chapman to throw 40 pitches, which clearly took a toll, as the lefty recorded only two outs.

“Overall, the at-bats I think were maybe the best we’ve seen against a pretty good arm,” added Mendoza. “I’m glad that it worked out for us tonight.”

Díaz, who came back from allowing the go-ahead runs in the eighth inning to close the game in the ninth for his third win, noted the palpable atmosphere in the dugout during the Mets’ last chance at the plate.

“That’s a big win,” Díaz said. “They were pushing each other after every guy got on base or came back to the dugout after they got out. They were pushing everyone to stay in the game.”

Earlier, the Mets benefited from a brilliant outing from starter Sean Manaea.

Manaea, who is 3-0 with a 2.44 ERA in eight starts away from Citi Field, stayed true to form by firing six shutout innings.

After laboring through a pair of slow-moving innings caused by a pair of walks and a self-inflicted fielding error to open his outing, Manaea soon found his groove. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning -- when Ke’Bryan Hayes reached base with a single on a ball that deflected off of the glove of Vientos at third -- and at one point in his outing, the lefty retired eight Pirates in a row. Manaea was aided by a pair of nifty diving plays in the field, first by Vientos in the second inning, then by Brandon Nimmo in the sixth.

Manaea allowed just a pair of base hits to go along with his three walks, and he ended his outing with a strikeout of Nick Gonzales, his sixth of the game. The sinker was the lefty’s most effective offering, recording six of his nine whiffs on the pitch. With the outing, Manaea continued his stretch as the hottest pitcher in New York’s rotation. He’s posted a 2-0 record with 27 strikeouts and a 1.57 ERA in his past five starts.

It was the kind of victory that often has the ability to ignite a team, particularly when it happens right before the All-Star break.

“We’ve come collectively such a long way to get back to .500, and I think this is a really good opportunity from today to keep moving forward in a positive manner,” said first baseman Pete Alonso, who was named to his fourth All-Star Game on Sunday.

Lindor clutch as Mets rally in 9th for 'huge team win' (2024)
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