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Mets set off with hit-by-pitch in home opener

NEW YORK – All it took for the Mets’ offense to break out was a birthday explosion and a friendly skinny elbow.

On his 29th birthday, Jeff McNeil hit a game-binding homer at the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday at Citi Field, and Michael Conforto followed with a controversial walk-off hit-by-pitch off Marlins reliever Anthony Bass in a 3-2 Mets victory.

The Mets struggled to score all afternoon against Nick Neidert and a trio of Marlins relievers. But facing a deficit on a run at the bottom of the ninth, McNeil led with a homer into the second deck in the right field. He became the 1

6th Mets player to homer on his birthday.

With one out, Luis Guillorme and Brandon Nimmo produced back-to-back hits to put two men in scoring position. The Marlins responded by deliberately going to Francisco Lindor to bring up Conforto, who had struggled throughout the early part of the season. Conforto fell into a 0-2 hole before bending his right elbow at Bass’ pitch. Referees moved to review the play and it was eventually confirmed as the Mets celebrated on the field.

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