Mets come back from what would have been a humiliating loss; Luis Rojas gets tossed in first inning

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PITTSBURGH — The Mets hit rock bottom. Then somehow, with their manager in his office watching the game from a television monitor, they climbed out.

The Amazin’s chipped away after a disastrous first inning behind Taijuan Walker — who lasted long enough to face nine batters and make just one out — that put them in a six-run hole. Michael Conforto finally provided the go-ahead bomb with a two-run home run in the ninth inning that led to the Mets’ 7-6 win over the Pirates on Sunday. It was perhaps their most important victory after an embarrassing weekend at PNC Park.

The circus started in the first inning, when the bases were loaded with Pirates as Walker struggled to find the strike zone. Walker had already permitted three runs to score by failing to retire four of his first five batters faced. Then one of the poorest plays you’ll see the Mets make this year — and maybe for several seasons to come — enraged Luis Rojas to the point of ejection and nearly led to the Amazin’s getting swept by the second-worst team in the National League.

Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman hit a dribbler down the third-base line that trickled toward the white chalk. But Walker flicked the ball with his glove toward the Pirates dugout. The ball bounced off the dugout railing and landed on the dirt, in play, just as home-plate umpire Jeremy Riggs made the correct call that Newman’s single was fair. Right away, third-base coach Joey Cora, the brother of Alex, waved all three of his runners home. The Pirates surged to a 6-0 lead.

Walker couldn’t believe it. Instead of retrieving the ball he just threw away, Walker argued with Riggs. Catcher Tomas Nido stood nearby watching. For several moments, long enough for the bases to clear and all three runners to sprint home, the Mets did nothing.

It was rock bottom in its most humiliating form.

In the pressure cooker that is managing a baseball team in the New York market, Rojas had kept his cool and calm demeanor for the majority of his two seasons on the job. Then, in his 150th game at the helm, Rojas utterly lost it. He stormed out of the dugout, got in Riggs’ face and barked at him from multiple angles. Riggs turned away from Rojas, but it didn’t matter to the Mets skipper. He was incensed.

Rojas followed him around the field — already ejected at this point — and continued to shout at him. Multiple Mets coaches tried to get between Rojas and Riggs, to little success, before Rojas finally walked away, still seething with rage, and disappeared into the Mets tunnel. Mets bench coach Dave Jauss managed the remainder of the game.

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