Brandon Nimmo and the Mets get a walk-off win over the Yankees

When a struggling team pulls off a thrilling win — especially in a packed ballpark against a crosstown rival before a day off — the question has to be asked: How big is this win?

It’s an inevitable question, though – let’s be honest – it’s often pointless. Had the Mets lost again to the Yankees on Wednesday night, they would not have given up the season. Win or lose, they will appear and compete in their next game. After all, that’s the job.

Why it matters, though, is why this win could turn out to be bigger than most: It could help the Mets relax and play sharper, crisper baseball again. That was Brandon Nimmo’s point, anyway, after his double was sealed over the right-field wall 4-3 win 10 rolling innings at Citi Field.

The Mets had lost nine of their previous 10 games. If they had abandoned this too, their shortcomings on the field and in the stands would have been more apparent, leading to more mistakes.

“When you win, things expand a little bit more; When you lose, they stand out,” Nimmo said. “So when you try to turn it around, you think, ‘Well, maybe we’re not good enough. Here, Maybe we don’t do enough Here, Press a little more on those areas to see if you can get the desired result of success.

Nimmo misplayed a fly ball to center field in Tuesday’s loss and smothered a seventh-inning rally on the bases Wednesday. Starling ran from first on Marte’s bases-loaded single to left, and Nimmo assumed the runner in front of him would try to score as well. He was sprinting toward third when he noticed that runner Mark Vientos had been pulled over. Catcher Jose Trevino threw Nimmo to second.

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“They’ve got to go get something, make something happen and go after it,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We always say: ‘If you feel something, go for it’.”

Nimmo went for it and lost the gamble, as did second baseman Jeff McNeill in the seventh when he attempted to turn a double play on a chopper by the speedy Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Even a perfect throw would have been hopeless, and this one wasn’t perfect: it went away for an error, scoring a run.

Soon Kiner-Falefa was roaming the bases — stealing second and taking third on a wild throw from catcher Francisco Alvarez. Swiping home Intimidating left-hander Brooks Raleigh worked off the windup and fired his pitch to the backstop.

Owner Steven A. That seemed to stymie Cohen, whose record payroll of more than $340 million — plus millions in luxury taxes — produced a 32-36 record.

“That was a crazy game,” Cohen said He tweeted that. “Too many mental mistakes, but I’ll take it.”

Those mistakes, perhaps, overshadowed the sound approach the Mets — and the Yankees, for that matter — took to the game, a matchup of aces between the Mets’ Justin Verlander and the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole.

By the middle of the fifth, Cole and Verlander had combined for 27 strikeouts while allowing just one baserunner. Yet even as both starters threw strikeouts — not a walk between them — they were gone after six innings, as hitters racked up foul after foul, raising their pitch count.

Nimmo saw 24 pitches in his three at-bats against Kohli, including 16 after two strikes. It was a master class in dressing a power pitcher, and built on the lessons Nimmo learned in the Mets’ farm system.

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“There’s this old thing from when I was in the minor leagues: ‘Watch a couple more pitches, and when you get two strikes it helps your team,'” Nimmo said. “That’s the type of mindset you take: I’m trying to understand if he can make mistakes early because we’ve got to keep it going, but I don’t want to overextend because we don’t want to have soft early outs. It’s a tough line, but about my at-bats today. I am proud.

Nimmo’s final match came in the 10th against Nick Ramirez, who had come especially to face him. Nimmo (now batting .345 against left-handers) hit a single off the wall to score Eduardo Escobar and give the Mets a badly needed win — a win that seemed huge.

“It’s nice to win, but it’s even better when it’s a walk-off hit, and it happened to one of the best guys out there,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “That’s how the game works. He didn’t feel good about yesterday, I’m sure he didn’t feel good about what happened early in today’s game. And he got his chance and he didn’t let it go.

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