Mets look to start September playoff push vs. Marlins

MLB

An unusual pair of wins Tuesday served to unite the New York Mets with their fans — and, the Mets hope, perhaps lit the fuse for an unlikely surge back into contention over the final month.

The Mets will look to close out a sweep of a rain-shortened series Thursday night, when New York is scheduled to host the Miami Marlins in a battle of division rivals.

The Mets won two games over the Marlins Tuesday, when they scored five runs in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 win in the completion of a game suspended by rain on April 11 before recording a 3-1 victory in the regularly scheduled seven-inning game.

With heavy rain in the forecast all day and night Wednesday, the middle game of the series was postponed immediately after Tuesday’s nightcap. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sept. 28. Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 6.94 ERA), who was scheduled to start Wednesday for the Mets, will start Thursday. The Marlins have not yet announced their plans, though right-hander Zach Thompson (2-6, 3.16) was Wednesday’s initial probable starter.

The two victories allowed the Mets to finish a disappointing month on a positive note — they went 9-19 in August and fell from first place in the National League East to third place, 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves — while also quieting the controversy generated by the “thumbs down” celebration at least three New York players displayed during Sunday’s 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals.

Javier Baez, who said Sunday the celebration was a response to booing Mets fans, apologized in a pregame press conference. Then he won over the Citi Field crowd by delivering a two-out RBI infield single in the ninth inning of the first game before racing home from first with the winning run after Jorge Alfaro bobbled Michael Conforto’s game-tying single.

The Mets were down 5-1 entering the final frame.

“Winning’s all we want, winning is all the fans want,” Conforto said after the opener. “We’re all pulling in the same direction here.”

The Mets’ two wins, coupled with the Braves’ 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed New York to shave 1 1/2 games off Atlanta’s lead.

“These guys always show up to play, they always show up ready to go — especially right now, when we’re feeling good and we’re on a little bit of a streak,” Conforto said after hitting a two-run homer in the nightcap.

Losing twice in one day — though the first loss counts as an April defeat — cost the Marlins a chance to continue building some late-season momentum. Miami entered play Tuesday with four wins in its previous five games following an eight-game losing streak.

“The first game, I felt really good about, obviously until that last inning,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday night. “We just didn’t seem to be able to get that last out.”

Carrasco had his longest start as a member of the Mets in his most recent appearance Aug. 26, when he didn’t factor into the decision after allowing two runs over seven innings as New York fell to the San Francisco Giants, 3-2.

Carrasco is 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins.

–Field Level Media

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