Michael Conforto heard a crumb of boos from the COVID-limited sales volume of 8,011 at Citi Field to Thursday’s home opener as he hit into a double play to finish the seventh inning. His next bat was more celebrated.
Battery with the bases loaded into a draw in the ninth inning, Conforto bowed in the strike zone and took an Anthony Bass glider from his right elbow, sending the Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Marlins.
Record maker Ron Kulpa determined that Bass’ pitch cut Conforto’s elbow pads. Marlins manager Don Mattingly argued for the call – on repetition it appeared that Conforto was leaning onto the pitch – but was told the game could not be reviewed.
The Mets were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 runners at base. They will stumble into Friday’s 6-for-35 (.171) day off with runners in scoring position this season.
In his Mets debut, Taijuan Walker lasted six innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and twice with four strikes. Walker had thrown a simulated game last weekend in Washington to stay sharp after the opening series was postponed. He was removed after 87 seats on Thursday. It was only the second career Citi Field start for Walker, who had last hit the ballpark with the Diamondbacks in 2017.
Jesus Aguilar hit an RBI single in the sixth for the Marlins’ second run of inning, placing the Mets in a 2-1 hole. Corey Dickerson doubled to bring the first race after Jon Berti had the singles lead from the inning.
Walker kept the Mets hitless in fifth. Brian Anderson designated one out to end the early non-hit clock, and Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s walk gave the Marlins a scoring threat before Walker withdrew from Chad Wallach to escape the inning.
The Mets loaded the bases in the fifth, and Dominic Smith’s drive to center had the potential to clear the fence. But Starling Marte ran to the 408-foot sign and caught the ball, limiting the damage to a victim fly. The ensuing dough, Jonathan Villar, beat Ross Detwiler to keep the Mets’ lead 1-0.
Miguel Castro and Trevor May were both used for the third time in four days. Each hit a shutout inning before Edwin Diaz’s season debut. Diaz threw a pointless ninth with a walk and a strike to pick up the win.