Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil have big day at plate in key Mets’ win

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SAN FRANCISCO — Mets owner Steve Cohen did not mention names in his angry Twitter rant Wednesday morning, but there was plenty of blame to go around during his club’s five-game losing streak against the top two teams in the NL West.

Jeff McNeil, with his lack of plate discipline, and Michael Conforto, whose entire season has been disappointing, might have been targets.

Both picked a nice day to help the club win.

McNeil doubled and scored during a four-run 12th inning and Conforto had a pair of hits that led to runs during the Mets’ 6-2, 12-inning victory over the Giants at Oracle Park that finally stopped the bleeding during a grueling 13-game stretch.

“It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive,” Cohen tweeted earlier in the day. “The best teams have a more disciplined approach.”

McNeil has not shown a disciplined approach during the 2-for-24 skid he lugged with him to the park Wednesday. And three first-pitch ground outs in his first four at-bats did not help McNeil, from whom the club wants better selection at the plate in a down season.

Michael Conforto belts an RBI double in the 11th inning of the Mets’ 6-2, 12-inninng win over the Giants.
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The Mets entered play averaging 3.80 pitches per plate appearance — the second worst in baseball — and McNeil was averaging 3.53.

But perhaps his 12th-inning double to right will be the stroke that breaks him out.

“That’s huge for Mac,” said manager Luis Rojas, who added he was pleased the infielder was able to pull the ball. “[When] he’s just out there swinging without a plan, that’s when we come in and we talk to him [and] we try to slow things down a little bit.”

McNeil’s power has disappeared this season. He has six home runs in 82 games two seasons after slugging 23 homers in 133 contests. The lack of pop was easier to stomach when he was reaching base often. He began the month hitting .276 with a .356 on-base percentage. An 11-for-62 (.172) August has erased that bright spot, but he showed a flash of the type of play the Mets need from him.

McNeil only got that opportunity in the 12th because of Conforto.

With a ninth-inning single, Conforto extended his on-base streak to 17 games as he continues to resuscitate his walk-year season. The single, with the Mets trailing by one, moved Pete Alonso to third. He scored on a sacrifice fly a batter later.

“Off a pretty legit closer [Jake McGee],” Kevin Pillar, whose three-run homer in the 12th was the game-winner, said of Conforto’s hit. “Left on left, able to get the guy over to third base. … That was a huge at-bat.”

Conforto came through again in the 11th, when his double scored McNeil, the automatic runner, for the go-ahead run.

If the Mets hope to return to the top of the NL East, both prized left-handed bats will have to be louder than they have been. McNeil is batting .254, Conforto .220.

Maybe if the volume of their bats increases, Cohen’s volume will decrease.

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