Mets may have talked themselves out of win as game gets suspended

They were on the verge of returning to .500, and then the Mets possibly talked themselves out of a victory.

Wait until Friday for the dramatic conclusion. Thursday night ended with the score tied 4-4 between the Mets and Cardinals in a game suspended by rain in the ninth inning at Citi Field.

Edwin Diaz imploded for his third blown save this season, allowing two runs in the ninth, but it might have never come to that if the Mets — with Pete Alonso leading the charge — hadn’t lobbied the umpiring crew to continue the game as the tarp was coming onto the field before the start of the inning.

Crew chief Jeff Kellogg gave the order for the grounds crew to reverse course, and after a nine-minute delay in which Diaz largely stood idle, the game resumed.

“The rain started to lighten up a little bit and we said, ‘Go ahead and pull the tarp,’ ” Kellogg said.

And then all hell broke loose for the Mets.

Harrison Bader stroked a two-out double to tie it 4-4 as the remaining fans booed through the raindrops. Kolten Wong’s RBI single had sliced the Mets’ lead to 4-3, after Diaz began the inning by walking Marcell Ozuna.

It’s possible Diaz will be the Mets’ pitcher if a 10th inning is needed when the game resumes, according to manager Mickey Callaway.

“This game is not over with, we’re going to come out here [Friday] and get a win,” Callaway said. “The good thing is the game is not over yet.”

With the rain intensifying, the tarp was called for at 10:04 p.m., before the Mets could come to bat for the bottom of the ninth, and the game was eventually suspended. It will resume at 6:10 p.m. Friday, before the Mets and Cardinals play their regularly scheduled game.

“I think the umpires did everything they could, the right way,” Callaway said.

Jacob deGrom carried the load for most of the night, allowing two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings. It was a third straight quality start for deGrom, whose ERA dropped from 3.45 to 3.38. Mets starting pitchers have posted a quality start in eight straight home games.

The Mets were last above .500 on May 2, when they beat the Reds. But a 1-5 road trip ensued, and Callaway’s crew spent much of the month just trying to get even. The Mets had a chance to crawl into positive territory two weeks ago, but Diaz blew a game against the Dodgers, allowing four runs in the ninth in a walk-off loss — starting another 1-5 stretch. The Mets are 5-2 since and awaiting the outcome of this one.

The Mets knocked out Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty in the sixth, scoring twice to take a 4-2 lead. Amed Rosario’s sacrifice fly gave deGrom a cushion after Dominic Smith delivered an RBI single that put the Mets ahead.

Alonso doubled inside the third-base bag before Smith again showed the value of placing him in the starting lineup as the left fielder: He entered play 16-for-39 (.410) in 16 games since May 23.

Paul DeJong blasted a solo homer in the sixth that tied it 2-2, imperiling deGrom’s chance at the victory. DeGrom threw a 98-mph fastball that DeJong hit over the left-center fence, just beyond Juan Lagares’ reach.

Michael Conforto smashed a two-run homer in the third that gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. The blast continued a hot stretch for Conforto, who has seven homers in his past 21 games, with 17 RBIs. Jeff McNeil’s two-out single kept the inning going before Conforto cleared the fence in right-center. It marked the 17th straight home game in which the Mets homered, extending a franchise record.

Matt Carpenter’s RBI single against the shift in the third had put the Mets in a 1-0 hole. DeGrom was visibly upset, thinking the grounder to the left side should have ended the inning.

“You make a pitch and you feel like it’s an out and you look back and nobody is there,” deGrom said. “I was frustrated. I think anybody would be.”

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