The Mets lost more games than they won in four of the previous five seasons, with 2019 the lone exception.
A foregone conclusion for weeks became official Friday night, however, as the Mets clinched at least a .500 record by pulling out their 81st win with yet another late rally — a 7-6 comeback victory over the Rockies on Pete Alonso’s RBI single in the ninth inning at Citi Field.
Shaky deadline acquisition Mychal Givens had flushed a one-run lead for Chris Bassitt in the eighth inning when he gave up a three-run double by Elias Diaz, but the Mets forged a 6-6 tie with two unearned runs in the bottom half of the eighth. The game-tying rally featured a two-out error by Colorado third baseman Ryan McMahon and a two-run double by Mark Canha off reliever Carlos Estevez.
After closer Edwin Diaz worked a scoreless ninth to maintain the tie, the Mets posted their sixth walk-off win of the season. Brandon Nimmo worked a one-out walk against closer Daniel Bard and Starling Marte was hit by a pitch. Colorado left fielder Sam Hilliard made a diving catch of Francisco Lindor’s liner to left, but Alonso followed with a single through the shortstop hole to score Nimmo with the winning run.
Rookie Brett Baty earlier had belted his first home run at Citi Field, as the Mets moved to 35 games over .500 (81-46) and temporarily 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East.
Bassitt allowed three runs on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout over 7 1/3 innings (88 pitches) and departed with a 4-3 lead and a chance to improve to 5-0 over five August outings. The 33-year-old righty also increased his workload total for the season to 148 1/3 innings, closing in on the career-high 157 1/3 he tossed last season with Oakland.
“Most of the time he comes in and says, ‘I have another inning in me. I feel great,’ ” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I think each guy is different. He’s had extra days quite a few times, I think, like he’s getting one this time coming up.
“I think we’ll continue to take precautions with him, but we also kind of feed off of what he’s saying and doing and the eye test. So far, so good, now that we’ve jinxed him.”
Baty provided Bassitt with a one-run lead when he led off the home third with a first-pitch home run to right against Colorado starter Chad Kuhl. It was his first homer since going deep on the second pitch he saw in the majors, on Aug. 17 in Atlanta. The homer Friday was timely for both the Mets and for the 22-year-old Baty, because third baseman Eduardo Escobar is slated to come back from the injured list on Saturday.
The Mets extended their lead with two outs in the fifth on Marte’s two-run triple. Canha had been hit by a pitch — his 16th of the Mets’ MLB-high 85 this year — and James McCann singled earlier in the inning.
Bassitt coughed up the lead in the sixth, however, on a two-run double by Brendan Rodgers and a run-scoring single to right by C.J. Cron for a 3-3 score.
The Mets retook the lead, 4-3, in the bottom half of the sixth on Canha’s double off the wall that drove in Darin Ruf, although Jeff McNeil, trying to score from first, was thrown out at the plate on a 8-4-2 relay play for the second out of the inning. It was Canha’s 14th RBI in his past 17 games.
After Bassitt breezed through a perfect seventh on just six pitches for a total of 85, Showalter sent the 2021 All-Star back out with the one-run lead for the eighth.
A one-out single by Charlie Blackmon prompted Showalter to summon Givens, who quickly allowed a single by Cron before clipping Jose Iglesias with a pitch to load the bases. After a strikeout of Randal Grichuk for the second out, Elias ripped a double to the wall in right-center to score all three runners.
Givens has allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 9 1/3 innings over his first 11 appearances since his arrival from the Cubs, but the Mets found a way to pull out another victory, their 81st of the season.
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