LOS ANGELES — Michael Conforto’s month has included a concussion and ricocheted ball off the fence that nailed him in the crotch earlier this week.
So if the Mets outfielder was going to soon experience another first in his major league career, maybe something positive was in order. Tuesday night he got it.
Conforto delivered his first career grand slam, a go-ahead seventh-inning blast, sending the Mets to a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine that ended the team’s six-game road losing streak. In winning for the seventh time in nine games the Mets reached the one-third point of the season at 27-27.
Lefty reliever Scott Alexander was summoned to face Conforto with the bases loaded in a 2-2 game with one out in the seventh. Conforto hammered a sinker over the left-field fence for his 10th homer of the season. None of his previous 85 major league homers over five seasons had occurred with the bases loaded.
“Just get the job done in that situation,” Conforto said. “I wasn’t looking for the grand slam, I was just looking to bring the run home and put us in the lead. That is probably the approach you need to take in that situation.”
The homer was Conforto’s first since May 16, the same day he left the game in Washington with a concussion after colliding with Robinson Cano as the two converged on a popup. Conforto spent the next 1½ weeks on the injured list before returning to the lineup Sunday.
And then Monday he was chasing a ball that hit the right-field fence at Dodger Stadium and ricocheted into his groin area.
“That was almost worse than the concussion,” Conforto said.
Walks to Adeiny Hechavarria and Aaron Altherr to start the seventh began the go-ahead rally. Amed Rosario then sacrifice bunted and reached first on pitcher Dylan Floro’s throwing error, loading the bases with nobody out. After J.D. Davis struck out, the lefty Alexander entered and surrendered the slam to Conforto. The Mets added a run in the eighth on Rosario’s RBI triple.
“When you put a guy like Conforto in there it changes the whole dynamic,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “It changes what they have to do, it changes the advance [scouting] report. When they are sitting in a meeting they have to worry about Michael Conforto in there.”
Robert Gsellman allowed a run in the seventh before Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz combined for two scoreless innings. The victory was only the Mets’ third against the Dodgers in 17 meetings, dating to May 28, 2016.
Steven Matz limited this dangerous Dodgers lineup to two runs on four hits over six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. It was a sixth straight solid start for Matz, who leads the Mets rotation with a 3.55 ERA.
“That’s the best I have ever seen Matz,” Callaway said. “That’s a great lineup. He got the ball, he threw the ball and not one ounce of emotion, you could tell he was locked in. From pitch one he just had a different look in his face.”
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Todd Frazier homered leading off the fourth against Rich Hill to tie it 2-2. After an anemic start, Frazier has suddenly emerged among the Mets’ hottest hitters, entering on a 13-for-38 (.342) tear over his previous 11 games. The homer was his third of the season and first since April 30.
Matz hung an 0-2 curveball in the third that Cody Bellinger blasted into the right-field seats, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. A night earlier Bellinger crushed a Jacob deGrom curve for a homer. Bellinger’s 20 homers are second to Christian Yelich’s major-league leading 21.
Maybe Matz’s bigger mistake than the curve to Bellinger was walking David Freese after retiring Kike Hernandez and Justin Turner to begin the inning.
Conforto’s check-swing grounder in the third brought in Matz for the game’s first run. Matz had reached on an infield single to begin the inning and tagged up from second on Davis’ drive to right that pushed Bellinger backpedaling toward the warning track – well beyond the range to have a chance at throwing out the runner.
Bellinger on Monday had nailed Carlos Gomez with an epic high-arching throw as Gomez attempted to reach third after tagging up at second.
Gomez’s aggressiveness on the bases continued Tuesday, as he was thrown out attempting to steal after delivering a two-out single in the sixth.
The lefty Hill pitched six innings for the Dodgers and allowed two earned runs on six hits with one walk.