With back-to-back wins, Mets finding spark vs. Diamondbacks

The New York Mets knew they had a lot of problems upon gathering for a players-only meeting Wednesday.

Less than 72 hours later, they’ve got something else: momentum.

The Mets will look to earn a rare series win Saturday afternoon when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third game of a four-game set.

Left-hander Sean Manaea (3-1, 3.16 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against right-hander Slade Cecconi (1-4, 6.12).

The Mets won their second straight game Friday night, when Starling Marte had two hits and four RBIs and New York held off a ninth-inning rally by the Diamondbacks to earn a 10-9 victory.

The consecutive wins are the first since May 6-7 for the Mets, who went 9-19 in May — their worst record in May since 1993, when New York went 9-18 on its way to finishing 59-103.

In hopes of avoiding a similar fate, the Mets held a lengthy team meeting following Wednesday’s 10-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. New York overcame an early two-run deficit Thursday night to edge the Diamondbacks 3-2 before scoring its most runs since April 11 on Friday.

Every starter had at least one hit for the Mets, whose 14 hits were their most since they finished with 15 hits in a 10-9, 10-inning loss to the Miami Marlins on May 18.

“You can see over the last two days that the team has really played a lot better and come together,” said Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who was 2-for-5 with two runs on Friday. “I think it’s made a tangible difference, kind of confronting the elephant in the room and saying that we weren’t really playing good baseball and how can we fix that?”

The Diamondbacks might not be venturing into team meeting territory, but frustrations continued to build Friday when Arizona snapped a lengthy offensive slump but couldn’t overcome a rough start by Jordan Montgomery and lost its fifth straight game.

The Diamondbacks scored three runs in the top of the first before Montgomery gave up four runs in the bottom half. Montgomery was charged with eight runs (six earned) over four innings and was saddled with the loss when Arizona’s comeback fell short in the ninth, when Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer and Christian Walker went deep on the next pitch.

The nine runs the Diamondbacks scored Friday equaled their total from the previous six games.

“We just couldn’t combine an offensive game with a well-pitched game,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s coming — we’re going to figure that out — and when it does, we’re going to win a baseball game.”

Manaea didn’t factor into the decision last Sunday, when he allowed two runs over five innings in the Mets’ 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. He is 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA in 11 career games (eight starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Cecconi, who was recalled from Triple-A Reno Friday when Zac Gallen went on the injured list due to a strained right hamstring, took the loss in his most recent big league outing May 20 after giving up six runs over five innings in the Diamondbacks’ 6-4 setback to the Dodgers.

He has never opposed the Mets.

–Field Level Media