For six innings on Tuesday night, the story of the game between the Mets and the Orioles was the starting pitching. Marcus Stroman and John Means were excellent, matching zeroes through the first six frames—with Stroman making an very good defensive play early in his start. Aside from the great pitching, Jeff McNeil leaving the game with what turned out to be “body cramps” was one of the few noteworthy things through the first six innings of the game.
When the Orioles put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the seventh, though, Luis Rojas opted to issue an intentional walk to load the bases and force the Orioles to make a decision on whether to let Means bat for himself or not. They chose to send up a left-handed pinch hitter, Rojas called up Aaron Loup, and the Orioles swapped in a right-handed hitter instead.
Loup gave up just a sacrifice fly, the first run of the game, before getting out of the inning. But the top of the eighth started with a much scarier injury, as Trevor May gave up a long fly ball to Austin Hays that Albert Almora Jr. raced back to catch. He got there, but just after the ball went into his glove, he crashed into the outfield wall about as hard as you’ll ever see anyone do it. Thankfully, after a few minutes down on the ground, he was able to walk off the field under his own power.
May struck out the next two batters he faced, but with the infield playing back, Freddy Galvis put down a bunt for an RBI infield single to extend Baltimore’s lead to 2-0.
But the Mets had a comeback in them. Michael Conforto singled in a run in the bottom of the eight to cut the Orioles’ lead in half. And after Jeurys Familia threw a scoreless top of the ninth, the Mets’ increasingly dynamic duo of Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar got things started in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles, Pillar’s coming after he barely missed a game tying solo home run on a ball on a ball that went foul just before the left field foul pole.
James McCann, who had another very bad night at the plate, struck out, which felt like a win at the time since he had grounded into one of two very frustrating double plays for the Mets in the game. But Dom Smith, who had entered the game in left field and the eighth spot of the batting order when Almora left with his injury, came through with a game-tying single that plated Pillar. And with the throw home getting away from Orioles catcher Pedro Severino, Villar wisely took third.
That brought up Patrick Mazeika. A wild pitch by Orioles closer César Valdez allowed Smith to advance to second, and with the infield playing in with the potential winning run on third base, Mazeika hit a ground ball to first. Villar broke for home instantly, and his head-first slide got in ahead of and under the tag for a walk-off win.
Mazeika doesn’t have a hit yet in four plate appearances to start his major league career, but he’s driven in three runs and twice plated the walk-off run for the Mets by hitting into a fielder’s choice.
With that, the Mets have won six games in a row, and they’ll have the opportunity to sweep the Orioles in this two-game series with Taijuan Walker on the mound opposite Matt Harvey this afternoon at Citi Field.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Dom Smith, +52.2% WPA
Big Mets loser: James McCann, -38.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: +11.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +38.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Dom Smith hits a game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth, +50.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Freddy Galvis reaches on a bunt single to plate a run in the eighth, -11.0% WPA