NEW YORK (AP) — On the day that Mets captain David Wright announced he’ll return to play his last big league game during New York’s final homestand, Todd Frazier did his fellow third baseman proud.
Michael Conforto and Frazier hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the ninth inning to give New York a 4-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader, and the Mets went on to sweep the Marlins, winning the nightcap 5-2 on Thursday.
New York had been held to just two hits before the dramatic homers, including starting pitcher Steven Matz’s first career home run.
The last Mets third baseman to hit a walk-off homer was Wright in 2008. The seven-time All-Star is expected to be activated from the 60-day disabled list when the team returns home Sept. 25, and is slated to start on Sept. 29 against Miami. Wright has not played in the majors since May 2016.
“He’s one of the greatest Mets to play here,” Frazier said. “He’ll go down as one of the better third basemen to ever play this game. So he deserves all the accolades. And that’s Mr. Met right there. So it’s awesome to be a part of that. That’s pretty cool, especially being a third baseman.”
Although he’s not officially retiring, Wright is not expected to play again after this season because of debilitating neck, back and shoulder injuries that have plagued him for years.
“He was our leader,” Conforto said. “I’m looking forward to playing with him again at least one more time, taking the field with him, and I’m excited for that. It’s going to be fun.”
The Mets have hit 14 homers in their last seven games. It was the fourth time they’ve swept a doubleheader at Citi Field, which opened in 2009, and the first time in seven years.
New York took three of four in the series and has won nine of 12.
Conforto drove in three more runs in the nightcap, and Jason Vargas pitched six effective innings.
Conforto clubbed a double in front of the visitors’ bullpen in right-center field in the fifth inning, scoring two runs and putting New York in front 3-2. The hot-hitting outfielder added an RBI single in the seventh.
“We have to capitalize on mistakes and he’s definitely doing that right now,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
Rookie Tomas Nido got New York on the board in the fifth inning of game two with his first big league homer, a solo shot into the left field seats off Jeff Brigham. Vargas and Amed Rosario followed with consecutive singles, chasing Jeff Brigham (0-2) for reliever Jarlin Garcia.
Vargas (6-9) allowed two runs on three hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out seven. The veteran left-hander is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA over his last six starts.
Seth Lugo hurled two scoreless innings in relief, fanning the first five Marlins he faced. Robert Gsellman worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 11th save.
Lugo tied a franchise record by striking out at least five batters in consecutive relief appearances and is just the third reliever since at least 1908 with consecutive outings of two innings pitched or shorter with five or more strikeouts.
Brigham led off the third with his first big league hit, a single up the middle. Miguel Rojas followed with his 11th homer, driving a 2-1 fastball into the lower deck in left-center field to give Miami a 2-0 advantage.
The Marlins managed just one more hit the rest of the game.
The opener was the first time in franchise history that the Mets hit back-to-back homers for a walk-off win, according to Elias. The Mets have five game-ending homers in this otherwise forgettable season. Only the 1962 and 1963 teams had more, with six.
Embattled reliever Kyle Barraclough entered with one out in the ninth and retired Dominic Smith before Conforto lined a 1-0 changeup into the second deck in right to tie the game. Frazier followed by hitting a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field, prompting his teammates to rush from the dugout and mob the veteran third baseman as he crossed home.
“I was hoping that Michael got on. He did his job, and in my mind I was trying to hit a home run,” Frazier said. “Those rarely happen. Got a pitch to hit and kind of squeaked one over, so we’ll take it.”
Barraclough (0-6) blew a save for the seventh time in 17 opportunities.
Jerry Blevins (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
The Mets weren’t the only ones happy that Wright will suit up for one last game.
“I’m glad that he’s going to get back and be able to play,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, a six-time All-Star and former MVP who also dealt with debilitating back injuries. “I don’t know his whole road, but I know it’s been a rough one the last few years.”
Marlins: OF Austin Dean was a late scratch from the first game because of nausea. He sat out the nightcap.
Mets: C Devin Mesoraco (bulging disk in back) is almost pain-free and could be close to returning, Callaway said.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-10, 4.72 ERA) opens a weekend series in Philadelphia on Friday night.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (11-3, 3.44) takes on baseball’s best team Friday as New York heads to Fenway Park for a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox. Syndergaard is 5-1 over his last seven starts.\
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)