NEW YORK – Francisco Álvarez hit a tying three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and Pete Alonso hit a game-ending three-run shot in the 10th, giving the New York Mets an improbable 8-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
New York trailed 2-0 before Mark Vientos, a rookie brought up from the minors for his season debut, tied the score with a two-run homer in the seventh off side-armer Ryan Thompson.
Brandon Lowe put the Rays back ahead with a two-run homer off Adam Ottavino in a three-run eighth that built a 5-2 lead.
Álvarez homered on a sweeper from Jason Adam, a 426-foot shot off the facing of the left-field second deck, to send the game into extra innings. The Rays opened a 7-5 lead when pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez and Josh Lowe had run-scoring singles in the 10th against David Robertson (1-0).
Jeff McNeil singled off Pete Fairbanks (0-1) leading off the bottom half, and Alonso pulled a fastball into the left-field second deck for his 15th home run of the season, sending the Mets running onto the field following their first walk-off win this season. It was the fourth career walk-off homer for Alonso, and the Mets won for the first time this year in a game they trailed by three runs.
New York and the major league-best Rays meet Thursday in the rubber game of the series as the Mets try to stop a streak of six straight series losses.
Tampa Bay stole seven bases. Wander Franco and Taylor Walls stole two each, and Randy Arozarena, Luke Raley and Josh Lowe one apiece.
Isaac Paredes hit an RBI double in the fourth for the Rays off an otherwise overpowering Kodai Senga, who struck out a season-high 12. Jose Siri boosted the lead to 2-0 when he homered for the second straight night, a seventh-inning drive off Jeff Brigham.
Senga allowed three hits and three walks as his family arrived from Japan and watched him pitch for the first time this season. His strikeouts, the most by a Mets rookie since Noah Syndergaard in 2015, prompted fans in the left-field seats to hang 12 ghost posters, a nod to his ghost forkball.
Siri drew boos from Citi Field fans during his home run trot. He raised his right arm, index and pinkie fingers extended, after passing second base and pulled his left jersey sleeve up while heading home, irking the crowd.
Rays starter Josh Fleming allowed three hits in five scoreless innings.
Siri made a backhand grab in center on a full sprint to rob Jeff McNeil of an extra-base hit starting the sixth.
New York opponents have scored first in 29 of 44 games.
RHP Yonny Chirinos was optioned to Triple-A Durham and the Rays selected the contract of RHP Zack Burdi from the Bulls. RHP Javier Guerra cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Durham.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (left oblique) probably will get one more minor league rehabilitation start before he’s activated from the IL. … 1B Yandy Díaz (left groin) likely will return for Friday’s homestand opener against Milwaukee.
Tampa Bay will bring up RHP Taj Bradley (3-0, 3.52 ERA) from Durham to start Thursday’s series finale. He beat Boston, Houston and Cincinnati in April. RHP Tylor Megill (4-2, 4.02) starts for the Mets.