With the Mets trailing 4-2 late in Tuesday's game against the Marlins, the Brewers' 4-2 win over the Reds became final, and with it, the Mets' remaining postseason hopes seemed to fade away.
A Mets loss would have officially eliminated them from postseason play, but down by two runs heading into the ninth inning, the Mets found that never-say-die approach that they've shown flashes of time and time again through the year.
Michael Conforto's second home run of the night tied the game in the ninth, and a Brandon Nimmo bases loaded walk in the 11th gave the Mets an improbable 5-4 win over Miami, and kept those slim playoff hopes alive.
"We're going to keep on fighting," Mickey Callaway said after the game. "As long as there's a chance, we're going to keep on going. We've seen in a five-game stretch anything is possible, and that's where we're at."
Conforto was the offensive hero on the night for the Mets. Trailing 4-0 in the second, he put the Mets on the board with a two-run shot. Later in the ninth, with the Mets three outs away from being eliminated, Conforto lifted his second home run of the night, and 33rd on the season, over the fence in right, extending the game into extra innings.
Both of his homers came with two strikes.
"Just stay short … stay in the zone," Conforto said about his approach at the plate. "You expand where you're looking a little bit more, but I just try to stay as short and compact as I can. A lot of times that will keep you off the breaking stuff out of the zone and keep you on the fastball. Just a couple of good swings."
Conforto said that as much as the players in the dugout try to block out what's happening in other game, he was aware of the Brewers' win, and he knew what was at stake in his final at-bat.
"We're trying to focus on our game, but (the other scores are) up there over the third deck," said Conforto. "We're aware, but it's not like it's going to change the way we play the game. We're going to play to win, no matter what our playoff chances are. I think that's the attitude of everybody in here."
Conforto had been scuffling mightily in his last 10 games, going just 3-30 at the plate with nine strikeouts. But he came through in a big way on Tuesday.
"He gets one good swing and then he can be the best hitter in the league, and we're seeing that right now," said Callaway. "Something clicks for him, and he just goes off. Good timing. We needed it tonight."
So for now, the Mets' playoff hopes remain, if hanging just by a thread. The only thing they can do is continue to win over their last five games and hope they get some help.
Even if they don't make the postseason, though, Conforto knows the lessons learned this season will be important in the long run.
"We're frustrated that we're not in a better position," Conforto said. "I think we had a lot of opportunities throughout the year, but at the same time, being here from where we were last year at this point, we've shown some improvement. We've had some guys who've stepped up, new guys in this locker room who really made a difference for us this year.
"If we don't make it this year, it's a great experience for a lot of these guys, the young guys who haven't been through this, just to understand when we go through a stretch like we did in June where couldn't put a full game together, or hold on to a lead, or put runs on the board, those games really matter. It's going to come down to a couple of games that we don't get in by, if not just one, so we've got to keep that in mind next year."