NEW YORK (AP) – Jeff McNeil launched a tying homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on his 29th birthday and the New York Mets were handed the winning run on a disputed hit by pitch for a bizarre 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins in their home opener Thursday. With the bases loaded and one out, a scuffling Michael Conforto appeared to stick out his right elbow pad just enough to get it grazed by a 1-2 breaking ball from closer Anthony Bass that looked to be in the strike zone. Plate umpire and crew chief Ron Kulpa at first signaled strike, then quickly ruled Conforto was hit by the pitch. Conforto headed toward first base as Luis Guillorme scored and the Mets celebrated a comeback win in front of the first crowd at Citi Field in 557 days. Marlins players and manager Don Mattingly argued with Kulpa before a replay review was initiated. The review lasted 58 seconds, and the call was upheld. According to baseball rules, if a batter is hit by a pitch in the strike zone, the pitch should be called a strike. According to replay rules, however, whether the pitch was in the strike zone or the batter made any attempt to get out of the way is not subject to video review. Those are umpire judgment calls. Only whether the ball touched the batter is reviewable. The official explanation from the replay supervisor in Manhattan was this: ‘œAfter viewing all relevant angles, the Replay Official definitively determined that the ball struck the batter. The call is confirmed, it is a hit by pitch.’� Edwin Diaz (1-0) worked a hitless inning in his first outing of the season. Bass (0-2) has blown both his save chances with the Marlins (1-6) and lost both games. McNeil homered leading off the ninth, sending a 3-1 pitch into the second deck in right field. He tossed his bat aside and turned to the Mets’ bench before rounding the bases. CUBS 4, PIRATES 2 PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jayy Baez hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the sixth inning in Chicago’s victory over Pittsburgh. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo also homered as the Cubs pounded out a season-high 11 hits against Tyler Anderson (0-2) and four relievers. Baez, Rizzo, Bryant and Jake Marisnick had two hits each to help Chicago raise its major league-worst batting average from .143 to .157. Jake Arrieta (2-0) survived a sometimes wobbly six innings, and Craig Kimbrel got five outs for his second save. Pittsburgh has dropped six straight. ROCKIES 7, DIAMONDBACKS 3 DENVER (AP) – Jon Gray took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and got his first win of the season, pitching Colorado past Arizona. Gray (1-0) allowed three runners through six innings, helped in the sixth when third baseman Ryan McMahon made a barehanded grab of Tim Locastro’s grounder and threw out the speedy batter by a half-step. Gray threw 83 pitches through six innings in his second start of the season and was bidding to become the second Colorado pitcher to throw a no-hitter after Ubaldo Jiménez against Atlanta on April 17, 2010. David Peralta tripled leading off the seventh when he sent a 1-2 slider into the gap in left-center field. Daniel Bard relieved with two on in the ninth and got the two outs for his second save. Merrill Kelly (0-2) gave up seven runs – six earned – and nine hits in six innings. RED SOX 7, ORIOLES 4 BALTIMORE (AP) – Eduardo Rodríguez won in his return from heart inflammation that caused him to miss the 2020 season, allowing three runs over five innings help Boston spoil Baltimore’s home opener. Rafael Devers and Kiké Hernández homered for the Red Sox, who have won four consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 14-18, 2019. Boston has scored 33 runs in the four wins after managing five while getting swept by the Orioles in a three-game series at Fenway Park.
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