Flores Hits HR in 9th, Mets Past A's 6-5 for 4th Straight

Maybe the Mets still have a chance to make that playoff charge. They certainly think so, and it's showing on the field.

Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and New York rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Saturday night for its fourth consecutive victory.

After three straight comeback wins, the third-place Mets (45-50) will try for a three-game sweep Sunday and a 7-3 home stand. With several injured players finally on the mend, would that be good enough to keep this team intact beyond the July 31 trade deadline?

"There's still a lot of baseball left," shortstop Jose Reyes said. "We know it's not going to be easy, but we still believe."

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel Coulombe. Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in a four-run sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Michael Conforto cut it to 5-4 with an RBI double.

Reyes tripled twice and Travis d'Arnaud went 3 for 3 with an RBI single.

"We never put (our) head down," new third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera said. "That's how you come back and you win the game.

"Two months left. Nothing's done yet. I mean, we've got to keep playing good baseball, and we'll see at the end where we are."

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career and first for the Mets this season. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy — hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

"The bullpen kept us in the game and wouldn't give up," Flores said.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous outing, a victory against Cleveland.

"Just got a little bit out of sync," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Up until that point, about as good as we've seen."

Wheeler went five innings and three Mets relievers kept Oakland scoreless the rest of the way. Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless ninth to win for the second straight day.

"We've got to score some runs in the middle innings, too, when we've knocked their starter out," Melvin said. "We have to try to lengthen our lead."

Manaea blamed himself, though.

"At the end of the day, this loss is still kind of on me," he said.


With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.


Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.


Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.

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