Michael Conforto came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday and he was willing to do whatever it took to get the New York Mets a victory in their 2021 home opener — even if it meant leaning into a pitch that appeared to be in the strike zone.
The outfielder was facing a 1-2 count against Miami Marlins closer Anthony Bass when a curveball hung for a second too long, and it gave the lefty hitter enough time to stick out his right elbow pad to get hit, and the Mets came out with a 3-2 victory over their National League East rival.
After the game, Conforto spoke to the media about the final play.
“A win’s a win, it’s over, but I’d like to use the bat next time for sure,” Conforto said.
The Mets entered the ninth inning down 2-1, but Jeff McNeil drilled a solo homer to tie the game.
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Luis Guillorme followed up with an infield single, and leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo drilled a double down the left-field line, which set runners up on second and third base with one out in the inning. The Marlins decided to intentionally walk Francisco Lindor, which set up Conforto’s at-bat with the bases juiced.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly argued with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa before and after the crew decided to review the play. The review only lasted for 58 seconds, and the call was confirmed.
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Mattingly said that the umpire told him Conforto’s attempt to get out of the way could not be reviewed because it is a judgment call. Baseball rules state that umpires could only review whether or not a player is hit by a pitch.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 2-2 on the young season.