NEW YORK — Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has been looking for ways to get A.J. Pollock going at the plate.
After countless conversations in the skipper’s office and around the batting cage, they met at the top of the dugout steps with a runner on second base in the 10th inning Monday night at Citi Field.
Pollock then stepped into the batter’s box and came through, hitting a two-run homer that helped Arizona stop a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
“I’ve been feeling good. I guess that’s just baseball,” said Pollock, who had gone 6 for 43 in the previous seven games. “I felt like that last series (at Minnesota) and the second half of the Astros series, felt pretty competitive with all my at-bats. Just got to keep going out there with a good mind and things happen.”
J.D. Martinez had an RBI single and left fielder David Peralta threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate for the Diamondbacks, who lead Milwaukee by 3½ games for the second NL wild card. They are 4-0 against the Mets this season and have won nine of 10 meetings over the last two years.
Pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco walked to start the 10th and Peralta grounded out to bring up Pollock, who hadn’t homered since July 24 against Atlanta.
Lovullo offered some words of encouragement to his center fielder, who returned to the lineup July 4 after missing a month and a half due to a right groin strain.
Pollock delivered, sending a 94 mph fastball from Erik Goeddel (0-1) over the center-field fence to put the Diamondbacks back in front after they squandered a 1-0 lead in the seventh.
“I know he’s been feeling better through some of my conversations with him,” Lovullo said. “It’s coming. Players feel that. They sense it. They usually don’t let you down.”
Fernando Rodney gave up a leadoff homer to Michael Conforto before getting three outs for his 28th save in 33 tries.
Jimmie Sherfy (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth for his first major league win.
New York has dropped seven of eight to fall 15 games under .500 at 54-69. During the game, the Mets announced that oft-injured lefty Steven Matz needs another elbow operation, which will end his season.
The struggling Matz was diagnosed with irritation of the ulnar nerve in his left elbow, the team said. Surgery was recommended to reposition the nerve and relieve the irritation, a similar procedure to the one teammate Jacob deGrom had last year.
“I was surprised,” manager Terry Collins said. “Hopefully this might be an answer that lets Steven’s elbow feel a lot better next year.”
In the opener of a four-game set, the Mets had plenty of chances to score but went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Arizona starter Taijuan Walker pitched out of early trouble while allowing seven hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Yoenis Cespedes’ bases-loaded single to left tied it at 1 with one out in the seventh. Asdrubal Cabrera tried to score from second, but Peralta’s throw cut down the slow-footed Cabrera, who was tagged out by catcher Chris Iannetta.
“I don’t want to say something wrong, but he’s not a fast guy,” Peralta said. “Cespedes hit the ball really hard. … The only way to get him out at home plate (was) with a perfect throw.”
New York challenged the call, but it was upheld after a replay review.
Mets rookie Robert Gsellman gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list.
Diamondbacks: C Jeff Mathis was removed in the sixth with a bruised right hand. … Lovullo said OF Yasmany Tomas will undergo core surgery for a sports hernia Tuesday in Philadelphia. Tomas, on the DL since June 6, was working to get back before his rehab assignment was shut down in July. The 26-year-old from Cuba hit .241 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 47 games. … RHP Randall Delgado (strained right elbow) will throw a bullpen Tuesday. … CF Rey Fuentes was scheduled to play a rehab game for Triple-A Reno. SS Nick Ahmed (broken hand) was slated to make an appearance with the rookie-level Diamondbacks.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey made his third rehab start, first for Double-A Binghamton after two outings with Class A Brooklyn. He allowed two runs, four hits and one walk while striking out three over three innings. Harvey has been sidelined since June with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (10-11, 4.25 ERA) attempts to win his third straight start Tuesday night. Corbin has not allowed a run in 16 1/3 innings.
Mets: LHP Tommy Milone (1-2, 7.91 ERA) pitches in place of Matz. Milone made three starts for New York earlier this year and recently returned from a long stint on the DL due to a knee injury.
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