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Mets pull off late to beat Indians in opener



NEW YORK – "They are relentless."
That's how manager Mickey Callaway described his offense after the Mets posted a late 9-2 victory over the Indians – another team in the thick of the postseason picture, albeit in another league – on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
What began as

NEW YORK – "They are relentless."

That's how manager Mickey Callaway described his offense after the Mets posted an emphatic 9-2 victory over the Indians – another team in the thick of the picture after the season, albeit in another league – on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

What began as a tight deal between New York's Steven Matz and Cleveland's Shane Bieber – who went toe to toe with nearly identical state lines through five innings – turned upside down starting in the sixth, when Michael Conforto hit a tie two-run homer after the Indians left fielder Oscar Mercado dropped a routine fly ball earlier in the frame.

• Box points

But instead of resting on their laurels and letting their bullpen close a close victory, the Mets made sure the game was out of reach with a seventh seventh inning against Cleveland's bullpen. All but one hitter – J.D. Davis – came to the plate in the frame, as Amed Rosario Joe Panik and Pete Alonso provided the damage from the top of the order with run-scoring.

Davis had already done his part and launched a high-scoring 447-foot, two-run homer to center – tied for the second-longest ball of his career – to give the Mets an early lead in the second inning.

"They are relentless in their attitude no matter who comes in, and they are up there grinding it out," Callaway said. "Strikes in time, and then you come to their smaller pitchers and you add. That's what good teams do – they add. And tonight we add enough to the point where we could stay away from [Seth] Lugo and [Edwin] Diaz, and now we're in a better situation tomorrow because our finders are relentless.

"We could pop the two-way homer and then sit back and say," OK bull, here you go. "They do not that. They make late points, they often score points, and that takes away the pressure. "

Despite being up against Bieber, the latest ace in Cleveland's rotation, the Mets were unchanged. Seven of the nine starters contributed at least one hit on the night, excluding Juan Lagares who went twice, and Matz, who allowed just two runs (one earned) while striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings pitched. By snapping Bieber's four-start winning streak, New York continued its own string of success at home, winning for the 11th time in the last 12 games at Citi Field to move to 35-21 at home this season.

The Mets have been back in contention since the All-Star break, it has been their offense that has led the way. Entering Tuesday, the New York Majors led with a .301 batting average, ranked third in the OBP (.362) and tied for fifth in RBIs (96) and runs (99) in August. With the victory, the Mets improved to 25-10 since the Midsummer Classic.

"We have had a feeling this race that we may not get them the first time through the order, but our range has been so good," said Conforto. "Our finders have been able to find ways to get to the base, take find out how to run in. We only have the feeling that we will eventually get through who is on the hill. No matter who pitches, we feel that we will put a lot of runs on the board. "

That was exactly the kind of opening performance the Mets were looking for to begin this crucial nine-game home game, which also includes series against the National League East-leading Braves and the Cubs, which are two games ahead of the Mets for the NL's other Wild Card slot.

"I think we all knew it was August too, but the playoffs started today," Sa Davis. "We have to have the playoff mentality, the playoff atmosphere, that every game counts, especially the [with] hole that we dug in. I think the elephant in the room is that we have a lot of home games, but a lot of play against the playoffs. And again, back to that, this is our playoffs. We have to play well and we have to get ready to play. "


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