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Megill debuts, Oswalt returns, Mets score 7 to knock off Atlanta

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The Mets somehow pieced together their pitching behind a rejuvenated offense and salvaged a split with the Braves.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets, coming off one of the low points of the season on Tuesday when they saw their second-best pitcher go down with an injury and only mustered two hits against the Braves, got an injection of positive vibes early Wednesday when Marcus Stroman was revealed to have a clean MRI. Those good vibes were even further boosted by the return of Michael Conforto to the lineup that evening. Still, there was reason to be wary about the game, as Tylor Megill was making the first start of his career and the team without many relievers available in the bullpen. It seemed like a nearly impossible game for the Mets to pitch their way through.

Except Megill made it work. He took the hill and, while he wasn’t spectacular, the effort he put forth was nothing short of admirable. He held the Braves scoreless for the first four innings, only allowing two soft singles to Freddie Freeman across those four frames.

Meanwhile, the impact of Conforto’s return to the lineup was felt instantly. After Francisco Lindor walked in the first inning, Conforto came up behind him and instantly ripped a double to right field in his first at bat back to put two runners in scoring position for the Mets with only one out. The Mets didn’t get another hit in the inning, but because of Conforto’s double, Lindor was able to score on a wild pitch, and then Conforto scored on a groundout two batters later.

The Mets led 2-0 going to the second, and they didn’t stop there. The Mets had struggled to put together crooked numbers for a full week but had just put one up in the first inning, and were primed to do it again in the second against a struggling Kyle Wright. Luis Guillorme doubled off the wall in left field, and two batters later, Jeff McNeil singled him home. Then Lindor followed by ripping one into the seats in right field for his ninth homer of the season. The Mets were up 5-0 at that point and riding high.

They rode that lead into the fifth inning, with Megill still out there. Up over 75 pitches and starting to labor, he surrendered a walk and then a two-run blast to Ender Inciarte into the Coca-Cola Corner. He then walked the pitcher and had to be taken out, but he finished with a respectable 4.1 innings pitched in his debut with the two runs allows, 4 punchouts, 2 walks, and 3 hits given up. All in all, it’s about the best the Mets could’ve hoped for.

Miguel Castro came on in relief and labored a bit himself trying to get through that fifth, loading the bases with two outs in the process. But he induced a groundout by Abraham Almonte to get through the inning without allowing anything further.

In a surprising development, Corey Oswalt, freshly called up today as well, came in for the 6th inning. He instantly gave up a double to Austin Riley, then threw a wild pitch and surrendered infield single to score a run and make it 5-3. It looked like the Oswalt Mets fans had been seeing for years, and the lead the Mets were enjoying appeared to be imminent jeopardy. But Oswalt settled down and got through the sixth without allowing another baserunner.

Mets fans could exhale, as Oswalt navigated through his inning, and now it was on to the better relievers for the rest of the game to face the top of the Braves’ lineup. Unfortunately, none of them were available. Not even Seth Lugo.

So we got a second inning of Corey Oswalt, this time against the top of the lineup. And it went...fine! He gave up a hit to Freeman—who had four hits and a walk in the game, because he had gone too long without annoying the Mets—though he was erased and replaced on a fielder’s choice by Ozzie Albies, who got picked off to end the inning.

In a near miracle, the Mets had gotten two innings out of Oswalt—whom, you may remember, was outrighted off the 40-man roster over the winter and had gone unclaimed, and been hurt for much of the season—and lived to tell about it. The Mets had even finally added another run in the seventh on a James McCann RBI single to extend the lead to 6-3. Now it was time to hand it off to the better pitchers with an even larger cushion. Except Oswalt came out for a third inning.

Yes, Luis Rojas was so desperate for pitching that he tried to nurse Oswalt through 3 innings of relief to nurse a small lead. And it almost worked. Oswalt struck out the first hitter of the eighth, but then allowed another double to Riley and walked Ehire Adrianza. Rojas finally made the move to pull his laboring pitcher and hand it straight to Edwin Díaz for a five-out save.

Díaz extricated himself from the jam in the eighth by striking out Pablo Sandoval and getting Ender Inciarte to fly out. The Mets tacked on another run in the top of the 9th on a Lindor RBI single to make it 7-3. Díaz came back out for the ninth and, despite not having his best stuff, sealed the game.

There are many losses that are tough-luck losses, but you can consider this a dumb-luck win. The fact that the Mets got 6.2 innings out of Megill and Oswalt and they both only allowed three runs while Díaz and Castro did the rest is one of the most ridiculous outcomes in a season that has had a bunch of ridiculous things happen to the Mets so far.

The offense also looked miles ahead of where it was 24 hours ago, with the team putting together 13 hits and 7 runs in their best offensive performance in a while. McNeil, Lindor, and Conforto all combined for 7 hits.

The Mets have their hitters back. And they’re still 4 games up in the NL East. They have the day off on Thursday, before welcoming the Phillies for a four game series, including yet another doubleheader on Friday.

Box scores

MLB.com

ESPN

*illar of the game

We tend to reward results over process in this category, and Pillar smoked the ball all series with no results to show for it. Normally, I’d say that neither got it, but let’s throw Kevin Pillar a bone for some good at-bats.

Win Probability Added

Fangraphs

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor +16.9% WPA

Big Mets loser: Kevin Pillar -4.5% WPA

Mets pitchers: +32.7% 17.3% WPA

Mets hitters: +32.7% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor hits a two-run homer, + 9.8% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Ender Inciarte hits a two-run homer, -6.4% WPA

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