The New York Mets entered the bottom of the ninth of today’s home opener at Citi Field down one to their NL East rival Miami Marlins. They found a very unique way to pull out a win.
Down 2-1, second baseman Jeff McNeil began the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo bomb. The home run tied the game up at 2-2, and set up an extremely bizarre finish.
James McGann grounded out on the next at-bat, but the Mets got things rolling with one out. Pinch hitter Luis Guillorme singled, and went to third on a line drive double by Brandon Nimmo. Marlins pitcher Anthony Bass walked Francisco Lindor to load the bases, bringing up the ice cold Michael Conforto, who has struggled mightily with runners in scoring position during this young season.
On a 2-2 count, Bass threw one over the plate, that just barely caught Conforto on the elbow. The umpire began to signal strike three, but instead, called the hit by pitch, which drove in the game-winning run for the walkoff 3-2 New York Mets win. The pitch pretty clearly would’ve been a strike if Conforto wasn’t leaning over the plate. The play ultimately wasn’t reviewable, and baseball fans are not happy at all… well, besides the Mets fans on Twitter, of course.
Would’ve been strike three. pic.twitter.com/sTfGfm0Tmx
— Korked Bats (@korkedbats) April 8, 2021
the worst part is Kulpa starting to ring him up, acknowledging it's a strike, and then calling the HBP as if the fact that the ball was in the strike zone wouldn't perhaps be a hint that Conforto wouldn't be getting hit without leaning into it???pic.twitter.com/Tm3waCXfSk
— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) April 8, 2021
I think you’ll all know what I mean when I say: this is the most Mets way for the Marlins to ever lose pic.twitter.com/BWJKjZhInW
— Shannon (@Miss_Met) April 8, 2021
How can the game end that way?Marlins got robbed. Baseball is lost as a sport. Rules and replay are ridiculous.
— Mike Francesa (@MikeFrancesa) April 8, 2021
Totally bogus walkoff HBP to decide Mets-Marlins.
Not only did Conforto NOT try to get out of the way. But he very slightly moved his elbow TO GET HIT BY A STRIKE and the HP ump ignored it. That is some totally horsecrap umping right there. https://t.co/ABVWO7Y9fZ
— Peter King (@peter_king) April 8, 2021
“Well, we’ve seen a strike. That’s what you end up seeing, a ball in the strike zone,” Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the game. “For me, the tough part is you can’t really tell on replay if it hits him or not, and I guess the toughest part is it’s just a strike. It’s that simple. You’d think, with all the replay we do, that you could say ‘that ball’s a strike.'”
It is definitely a tough way for the Marlins to lose, and doesn’t help the mounting criticism of umpires this year.
The Mets go to 2-2 with the win, while the Marlins fall to 1-6.