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Mets blast Diamondbacks behind Matz’s pitching, five home runs

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Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil each homer twice as the Mets keep pace in the Wild Card race

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Robbie Ray took the mound against the Mets in Citi Field—August 24, 2017—was an unpleasant day, as Michael Conforto suffered a season-ending, career-threatening shoulder injury swinging at a Ray offering. Conforto got a day off Wednesday night, and it turned out the Mets offense didn’t need his bat, as they pounced on Ray for five runs in the first inning and never looked back, leading to a much happier recap.

Amed Rosario started the rally by leading off the frame with a double to left field. Pete Alonso struck out, but then Ray hit Jeff McNeil to put runners on first and second. Rosario and McNeil promptly pulled a double steal, which allowed Rosario to score on Wilson Ramos’s ground out to second.

J.D. Davis then lined a ball to left—it looked as if Tim Locastro had a play on it, but he pulled up at the last second, allowing the ball to fall in front of him and the second run to score. Instead of being out of the inning, Ray had two runs in, and a man on first. He never would find his way out of the inning, as Todd Frazier and Brandon Nimmo would hit back-to-back home runs to extend the lead to five, and a Juan Lagares double would chase Ray before the first inning had closed.

That seemingly comfortable lead seemed for a moment as if it might evaporate quickly. Steven Matz walked Wilmer Flores to lead off the top of the second, then followed that with two more walks to load the bases with none out. However, Matz escaped the torturous frame by getting Carson Kelly to strike out swinging, then induced a double play grounder from pinch hitter Kevin Cron to escape the jam.

Matz would settle in nicely thereafter, surrendering only four hits and not walking any other batters, giving the team six scoreless innings. By that time, Jeff McNeil had launched a home run deep into the Coca-Cola Corner and Todd Frazier send his second of the game over the right-center field wall for a 7-0 lead.

McNeil added a second home run of his own in the bottom of the sixth —giving both he and Frazier 20 each on the season—to close out the scoring, and putting the Mets up 9-0. Jeurys Familia, Paul Sewald and Tyler Bashlor each threw a scoreless inning to close out the game, while Sam Haggerty gave his teammates and the crowd some late game blowout excitement by making his MLB debut, striking out in a pinch hitting appearance.

The victory—their third straight over Arizona—vaulted the Mets over the Diamondbacks and into a tie with the Phillies in the Wild Card standings, two games behind the Cubs and the Brewers for the second Wild Card. The team looks for the crucial four-game sweep Thursday afternoon behind Marcus Stroman.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Todd Frazier, +15.0% WPA, Amed Rosario, +11.2%, Steven Matz, +10.0%
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: +10.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +39.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Todd Frazier’s two-run home run in the bottom of the first, +13.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Nick Ahmed walk to load the bases in the top of the second, -5.8% WPA