Michael Conforto’s clutch homer in ninth helps Mets snap skid

PHILADELPHIA — Michael Conforto narrowly missed a home run in Friday’s ninth inning, but the Mets weren’t left to rue that for long.

Two pitches later, Conforto unleashed a no-doubter that struck a sign attached to the right-field mezzanine at Citizens Bank Park, giving the Mets the go-ahead runs in a 3-1 victory over the Phillies.

The Mets (19-17) avoided falling to .500 for the first time this season, on a night when their sluggish lineup was silent for 8 ¹/₃ innings. But Wilmer Flores singled against Hector Neris with one out in the ninth before Conforto unloaded for his third homer of the season. Conforto’s near-miss against Neris two pitches earlier had screamed into the right-field corner, hooking foul at the last instant. Devin Mesoraco followed Conforto’s blast with his first homer since joining the Mets earlier this week, providing a cushion.

Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia combined for four innings of shutout relief behind Steven Matz.

Jake Arrieta stifled the Mets, limiting them to five hits and two walks over 7 ¹/₃ shutout innings. The veteran right-hander did not allow a runner to reach third base and was really only challenged in the third inning, when Yoenis Cespedes’ single put runners on first and second with two outs.

Jose Reyes helped crush a Mets opportunity in the seventh by getting picked off first base by Arrieta for the final out after delivering a two-out single. Conforto walked leading off the inning, but was erased when Mesoraco hit into a double play.

Matz gave the Mets a chance by allowing one run on five hits and four walks, with a hit batter, over five innings. The lefty was removed at 95 pitches, after leaving the bases loaded in the fifth without a run scoring.

Odubel Herrera’s homer with two outs in the first accounted for the Phillies’ only run against Matz, who has pitched effectively in his past two starts. In his previous outing, against the Rockies last Sunday, Matz allowed one run over six innings.

But his shaky fifth inning on Friday prevented him from working deeper into the game. In that inning, Matz walked two batters — including Arrieta — and plunked Rhys Hoskins to load the bases. Even so, Matz retired Carlos Santana for the final out, keeping the Mets’ deficit at 1-0.

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