The New York Mets began Friday talking about Pete Alonso’s burger and ended it by trading tall tales about rats, raccoons and possums.
All the Mets did in between was post their biggest comeback win of the season.
The Mets will look to build on the momentum generated during an eventful evening when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night in the middle game of a three-game series.
The Mets have yet to announce a starter, though left-hander Joey Lucchesi (0-2, 10.13 ERA) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to either start or serve as a bulk reliever behind an opener. Right-hander Merrill Kelly (2-2, 5.79 ERA) is slated to start for the Diamondbacks.
The Mets overcame a four-run third inning deficit to earn a 5-4 win Friday, when Francisco Lindor hit his long-awaited first homer at Citi Field this season — a game-tying two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh — and rookie Patrick Mazeika collected his first big-league RBI on a 30-foot, bases-loaded grounder in the 10th inning.
The main topic of conversation afterward, though, had to do with what Lindor and Jeff McNeil did or did not see — or did or did not do — in the tunnel leading to the locker room in between the top and bottom of the seventh inning.
With the Mets trailing 4-2, the keystone combination appeared to have a miscommunication on a one-out infield single by the Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed. Jacob Barnes escaped the inning when Daulton Varsho flew out to Michael Conforto at the wall in right field.
Moments later, Conforto and left fielder Dominic Smith led the rush of Mets players from the top of the dugout into the tunnel.
The normally buoyant Lindor, who entered the game batting .163, was glowering after his homer and McNeil looked forlorn as well when he took the field in the eighth.
The two appeared to have a cordial conversation near the on-deck circle before the bottom of the ninth. Apparently, they got their stories straight after Alonso — who held a news conference Friday afternoon, hours before his “Polar Burger” made its debut at the Citi Field concession stands — slid home with the winning run as Stefan Crichton’s scoop throw of Mazeika’s dribbler glanced off the glove of catcher Carson Kelly.
Lindor said he sprinted to get his first glimpse at a New York rat and McNeil disagreed because it was a raccoon.
“Nice chat about a rat or a raccoon,” McNeil said. “To be honest, I actually thought it was a possum.”
The creative story isn’t the first generated this season by the Mets, who last weekend credited a hitting coach named “Donnie Stevenson” for helping to snap them out of a season-long batting funk.
The Diamondbacks might be willing to ask a rodent or a fictitious character for some assistance after another difficult night at the plate. Arizona, which was outscored 20-4 while being swept in a three-game series earlier this week by the Miami Marlins, was 1 of 16 with runners in scoring position Friday night.
The Diamondbacks scored their first three runs in the second inning Friday thanks to the wildness of Mets starter David Peterson, who plunked Tim Locastro with the bases loaded before walking Kelly and Christian Walker.
“I know that everybody wants it so bad,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to the long-awaited big hit. “I know everybody wants to be the guy that’s going to step up there and break this game open. And I want that attitude.”
–Field Level Media