NEW YORK (AP) DJ Stewart homered twice, then forced in the winning run when he was hit by an Aroldis Chapman pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th inning as the New York Mets beat Texas 6-5 on Wednesday night and dropped the Rangers into third place in the tight AL West.
Stewart also made a running backhand catch while crashing into the fence in the ninth inning, robbing Marcus Semien of an extra-base hit. Moments later, the announced crowd of 23,849 serenaded him with chants of “DJ Stewart!”
A year after winning 101 games, the Mets are last in the NL East, 8 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.
“Been a tough year for us as a team, but you enjoy those moments,” Stewart said. “For me to start the season in Syracuse and come up here and hear that, it’s really awesome.”
Texas (75-58) lost for the 10th time in 13 games and fell from a first-place tie with Seattle (76-57), also dropping behind Houston (77-58). The Rangers finished a 3-6 trip and are 10-17 on the road since July 1.
“We let some games slip away - we have to get better at that, there’s no getting around it,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll put it behind us. We’ve got a day off tomorrow. I think some fellows need a break. We’re home for a while and hopefully we’ll get clicking here with this offense.”
Nathaniel Lowe’s two-run single in the ninth Monday lifted the Rangers to a 4-3 win, their first victory this season when trailing after eight innings. With Wednesday’s loss, Texas fell to 2-7 in extra innings and 15-27 in games decided in the seventh inning or later.
“We had to come back, that’s what I hope we all look at - we’ve shown that we can come back and that was something that was missing early in the season,” Bochy said.
Texas overcome a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead on Jonah Heim’s two-run single off Adam Ottavino in a three-run eighth, but Stewart hit a two-run homer against Jose Leclerc in the bottom half.
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th against Jeff Brigham (1-2) before Heim lined out and Travis Jankowski grounded to Pete Alonso, who started a 3-2-4 double play that ended with second baseman Jeff McNeil covering first.
“It was awesome that Jeff was there to cover because the infield was in - made that a lot easier,” Alonso said. “That was a really cool play. Really good play. Just heads-up baseball by everybody.”
With McNeil at second as the automatic runner in the bottom half, Chapman (5-3) intentionally walked Alonso before walking Francisco Álvarez on six pitches and hitting Stewart with his next pitch. Teammates mobbed Stewart at first base and Rafael Ortega placed a plastic bubble gum tub atop his head.
Daniel Vogelbach and Stewart hit back-to-back homers in the second, when Brandon Nimmo had an RBI double.
Corey Seager homered in the fourth for the Rangers and Adolis García raised his RBIs total to 97 when he walked with the bases loaded in the sixth against Sean Reid-Foley and was hit by an Ottavino pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth.
“We bent a lot, but we stayed away from giving up a real big inning where they got away from us,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.
A quintet of Mets relievers threw 128 pitches and reached 13 full counts after Denyi Reyes allowed two runs over a career-high 5 1/3 innings.
“That’s a good sign when you’re showing some patience and running deep counts, finding ways to get on base,” Bochy said. “Had numerous opportunities tonight, no getting around it. Just couldn’t put it away.”
Dane Dunning yielded three runs in four innings, the third straight start in which he’s lasted five innings or fewer.
Stewart was hitting .229 with 16 homers in 51 games at Syracuse prior to his promotion on July 4 but is batting .279 with nine homers and 18 RBIs for the Mets - including .378 (17 of 45) with eight homers and 15 RBIs in his last 13 games.
“Streaks like this don’t always last,” Stewart said. "I’m enjoying it right now.”
Plate umpire Nate Tomlinson took a García foul ball off his mask in the eighth. The rest of the crew jogged towards Tomlinson, who was visited by a Mets athletic trainer and remained in the game.
Rangers: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (forearm strain) threw a light bullpen session and will throw a more intensive one Friday.
Mets: RHP Edwin Díaz (right patellar tendon) threw off a bullpen mound for the third time this homestand.
Rangers: RHP Max Scherzer (12-5, 3.71) starts Friday’s opener of a three-game series against AL Central-leading Minnesota and RHP Joe Ryan (9-8, 4.33). Scherzer is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts since Texas acquired him from the Mets on July 30.
Mets: RHP Kodai Senga (10-7, 3.17 ERA) starts Friday against the Mariners and RHP Logan Gilbert (12-5, 3.66 ERA). Senga has a 3.00 ERA in 21 starts on five or more days of rest this season.
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