by just not letting up, coming back from deficits 3 separate times and eventually shoving a pair of 9th inning runs across the plate to give them a win.
Leading up to the 9th inning, the story of the game might have been that Jacob deGrom was simply unlucky. He'd missed location on a couple of pitches to Grady Sizemore (who has somehow resurfaced on Tampa) and James Loney. At least for the first 6 innings, the Mets had done nothing in response, not so much because they'd left their bats in South Florida, but because they were being tied up by Jake Odorizzi, who heads up what's a sneaky good Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff. It took until the 7th for Odorizzi to break, when he made a mistake and hung a pitch to Juan Uribe, and Uribe sent the pitch into the Gulf of Mexico. At that point, yes, the game was tied, but then deGrom gave the lead back. But the Mets bounced back again in the 8th, when Daniel Murphy reached Jake McGee (whom the Gary-less duo of Keith and Ron reminded us a Healy-esque number of times that he only throws one pitch) for a catwalk-scraper of a Home Run. The Rays, however, grabbed the lead again when Evan Longoria hit yet another Home Run, this one coming off of Tyler Clippard.
And thus the stage was set for the 9th inning against Rays closer Brad Boxberger, whom I hadn't heard of beyond the fact that he'd made the All Star Team and I assume that any player that comes out of the Rays system is probably decent, because they're one of those organizations that just constantly produces good players. But, somehow, I felt calm because I figured the Mets would find a way to get the job done. Lucas Duda was up, first of all, and if you've been following him around you know that he's had the knack for coming through in key spots lately. He didn't do it in his conventional fashion this time around, but his 40 foot squib to the left side of the mound threw Boxberger off enough for him to make a terrible throw to 1st base. Boxberger's subsequent wild pitch got Duda to 2nd. Uribe popped out, which brought Michael Conforto to the plate. This, in my mind, was a great test for Conforto. You didn't have to dig too deep to know that this was the biggest at bat of his career, although hopefully there will be others sooner rather than later, and you'd like to see how the kid responds in a situation like this. The result, of course, was the kind of hitting you really like to see, because Conforto didn't try to hit a 6-run Home Run, he just tried to get a hit, and by sticking his bat out and hitting a little bloop into Left Field, he not only got Duda home with the tying run, but he also got himself to 2nd Base. This proved important a few batters later when the Mets #1 Folk Hero Wilmer Flores dunked a ball into Right Field in front of the glove of Brandon Guyer because Conforto then scored to give the Mets their first lead of the night.
The Mets then had to survive the last of the 9th, which the past few days has been a dicier proposition than any of us would like it to be, although with a 1-run lead Jeurys Familia was summoned to start a clean inning, but he still didn't do himself any favors by allowing a leadoff single to AsdrubAl Cabrera. This set the stage for Guyer to come up and hit into a pair of Double Plays, except that they were both deemed to be excruciatingly foul. But Familia held his ground and eventually got Guyer to hit a fair ball that resulted in an out. Kevin Kiermaier and Curt Casali followed but did not cause quite as much drama and the Mets escaped with a 4-3 victory and once again we're all wondering how the hell they manage to keep winning these games. This team certainly doesn't roll over when they're going well, and I would suppose they don't do so when they're not going quite as well except that when things were bad, it's sort of hard to tell when the team is trying their best. Nowadays, it seems like the effort is much more evident.