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    Thumbs-up! Javier Baez, Mets rally for comeback win after fan drama – New York Post

    The Mets ditched their thumbs-down celebration Tuesday and replaced it with a full-blown mob scene on the field. 

    After Javier Baez prolonged a ninth-inning rally with an RBI single, Michael Conforto walked it off with another single that scored two runs — including Baez from first as the winning run, with some help from a Marlins fielding error — to lift the Mets to a dramatic 6-5 win in the first game of a split doubleheader at Citi Field. 

    On a day that began with Baez and Francisco Lindor offering apologies for the thumbs-down gesture — which Baez originally said on Sunday was a way to boo back at the fans who had been booing the team — the Mets (64-67) fought back from a 5-1 deficit entering the ninth inning to win their third straight game. 

    “We gotta keep winning,” Conforto said. “Winning is all we want. Winning is all the fans want. We’re all pulling in the same direction here. I don’t know what one game does, but I can tell you the guys wanted to win this one about as badly as any other game that we’ve played. 

    “In short, I think winning cures everything. We’re focused on winning the second one today.” 

    Baez came a long way from getting a loud smattering of boos upon being introduced as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. As he walked to the plate in the ninth with two on and two out, the small crowd chanted “Javy Baez.” He responded with an infield single that pulled the Mets within 5-4. 

    Baez slides into home.
    Baez slides into home.
    Robert Sabo
    Javy Baez reacts after scoring the game-winning run.
    Javy Baez reacts after scoring the game-winning run.
    AP

    Conforto then won it, slapping a single to left field to score Alonso from third and Baez from first. Baez was just shy of third base when he saw left fielder Jorge Alfaro bobble the ball and never broke stride as he headed for home. 

    “This is a guy that can beat you in so many ways,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Playing defense, with his bat hitting a homer, and then the speed, which is what played today.” 

    Brandon Nimmo had started the rally with a two-run homer to make it 5-3. 

    Before the ninth inning, the Mets hadn’t given the sparse crowd much to cheer about in the wake of Baez’s controversial comments on Sunday. Lindor, who had also flashed the thumbs-down Sunday, drew a mix of boos and cheers as he went 0-for-3 with a walk and sacrifice bunt while Baez got the loudest and most sustained boos in the eighth. 

    Javy Baez celebrates after scoring the game-winning run.
    Javy Baez celebrates after scoring the game-winning run.
    Robert Sabo

    A trail of boos followed the rest of the Mets throughout the game, with fans’ frustration growing as the deficit increased and the offense continued to come up empty — hitting 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position through eight innings. 

    Taijuan Walker took the mound for the restart — in the resumption of a game from April 11, which had been suspended by rain in the top of the first — and needed 100 pitches to get through 4 ²/₃ innings while spotting the Marlins a 3-0 lead. 

    Jonathan Villar finally got the Mets on the board in the fifth inning, crushing a solo shot off Marlins righty Elieser Hernandez to make it 3-1. But Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso — who later had back-to-back hits in the ninth to bring Baez to the plate — left the bases loaded. 

    Lifetime Mets fan Patrick Inzetta holds up a thumbs-down emoji during the game.
    Lifetime Mets fan Patrick Inzetta holds up a thumbs-down emoji during the game.
    Rob Sabo

    The Marlins extended their lead to 5-1 in the sixth inning when Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run double on a shallow pop-up to right field that fell among Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Alonso — with Conforto and McNeil colliding. 

    But the Mets got the last laugh with Baez, naturally, finding redemption. 

    “To rally back and get that win was huge for us,” Walker said. “Especially Baez, he’s a gamer. He goes out there every single day and plays the game hard. He does everything he can to win ballgames for us. Just that play right there, it was a heads-up play. Only a few players can make that play, scoring from first to [home] and he’s one of them.”

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