Mets rally in 9th, win home opener vs Marlins on bizarre HBP

NEW YORK — 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 3-2 victory Thursday over the Miami Marlins in front of the first crowd at Citi Field in 557 days.

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 ruled Conforto was hit by the pitch, and he headed toward first base as Luis Guillorme scored as the Mets celebrated a bizarre comeback win in their home opener.

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 is a strike.

Whether a pitch hits a batter is subject to video review, but whether a ball hits a batter in or outside the strike zone is an umpire judgment call not subject to video review.

Mattingly said the umps told him whether the ball that hit Conforto was in the strike zone couldn’t be reviewed — only whether Conforto was plunked.