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After the Mets hit four homers on Tuesday against Minnesota and lost, they took a different approach in Wednesday’s win over the Twins.
“Keep on taking, don’t swing,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said after a 9-6 victory at Citi Field.
The manager was joking, but that was basically what his lineup did in a bizarre bottom of the fifth, as the Mets scored six runs and became the first team since the 1994 Yankees to have seven straight batters reach either with a walk or hit by pitch, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The inning began normally enough, with a groundout by Wilson Ramos followed by a single from Jeff McNeil, the Mets’ first hit of the night.
Then the Twins’ pitchers turned into Little Leaguers.
Jake Odorizzi, who didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings, followed by walking Amed Rosario and J.D. Davis to load the bases with Noah Syndergaard coming to the plate.
Facing his opposing starter, Odorizzi fired a ball by catcher Mitch Garver that hit hard off the backstop, but the right-hander picked up the ricochet and fired to third as McNeil inexplicably stopped between third and home. McNeil was tagged for the second out.
“I thought the rally was killed once they got Jeff,’’ Michael Conforto said. “But it snowballed.”
And Odorizzi continued to have issues with the strike zone — which quickly spread to Minnesota’s bullpen. Odorizzi then walked Syndergaard to load the bases again, ending Odorizzi’s night. He was replaced by Andrew Vasquez, who drilled Brandon Nimmo in the back on a 2-0 pitch to force in the tying run.
Pete Alonso then drew a walk, forcing in Davis. Then it got worse, and after a visit by pitching coach Wes Johnson, Vasquez completely lost the strike zone. The left-hander walked Robinson Cano on four pitches to make give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, desperate for someone who could throw strikes — or at least a strike — went to Trevor Hildenberger, and the right-hander responded by walking Conforto — also on four pitches.
“In that situation, you want to make sure you’re getting your pitch in the spot you want,’’ Conforto said. “Otherwise, we’re more than happy taking walks and bringing in runs. We all did a good job moving the line and letting the next guy get the job done. In this case, everyone got walked.”
Until Ramos followed with his second at-bat of the inning. Hildenberger fell behind 2-0 (which made for 13 straight balls), Ramos stroked a two-run single to right that knocked in a pair of runs before McNeil struck out to end the frame.
The free runs came in handy when the Twins rallied late, with five runs in the final two innings.
“I don’t think we put one take sign on,’’ Callaway said. “We did a great job of being patient and doing what it took to score some runs there. … You don’t see that [kind of rally] too often.”