Milwaukee – Literally or symbolically, the Mets will never be so weak from a hangover on Tuesday, because they didn’t view the playoff finale as a reason to loudly proclaim their successes. The Mets were proud of their post-season marquee, sure, and they celebrated it with appropriate fervor. But every time a Mets player talked about his accomplishments, he’d describe them with a kind of “but…”
ButPete Alonso said, “We need to focus on where our feet are.”
But“We have a long-term goal that started in February,” Francisco Lindor said.
That goal, of beating the Braves during the final two weeks of this season, will not be easy. So it was very rewarding for the Mets when Lindor hit the green light for the Grand Slam in the seventh inning on Tuesday night to lead them to a 7-5 win over the Brewers at American Family Field. Combined with three-stroke Homer Alonso, the blast allowed the Mets to run their winning streak to six while moving 40 games over 0.500 (95-55) for the third time in franchise history. And it allowed them to maintain first place on a night that the already brave won.
“Every match is of paramount importance,” Lindor said. “We are in the fight. We said that yesterday. We kept saying: This is not the ultimate goal. We wanted to win, of course, but that is not the ultimate goal.”
Remaining games: 12
Rank update: 1st place, 1 game against the brave
The magic number to grab NL East: 13
Guilty of playing “a bit meaningless” in the early innings, Lindor said, the Mets started their comeback when Brad Bucksberger entered the bout at six and allowed the first two men he encountered to hit base. Alonso was followed by Homer from three runs away from the hitter’s eye in the direct center field.
After the first inning, Taylor Rogers walked three strikes in a row before sending a first hit at Lindor Stadium on a fast ball by cutting the middle.
“You know what, man,” said Rogers, “there’s no excuse for that.” “You just have to keep the ball in the yard. I didn’t do that.”
Rogers can at least take some solace in the fact that Lindor and Alonso were doing it for everyone. Together, the two teams scored 220 starting points, with the most being a pair of main teammates. (Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado of the Cardinals came in second, with a score of 210, followed by Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo of the Yankees, with a score of 200.) Season record.
They don’t exactly leave a lot of steak there for the other players,” said manager Buck Showalter.
When asked about this duo’s penchant for leadership in running, Lindor credited Brandon Nimo, Starling Marty, Mark Kanha and all of his other teammates who have outlasted them this season. But while table order is important, it’s clear that the Mets go as well as Lindor and Alonso. As the team’s regular three- and four-hole hitters, they drive home nearly a third of the Mets’ runs.
“We have really good plans,” Alonso said. “We are really disciplined. If you miss getting past the board, we have a chance to push the ball into the gap or over the wall.”
In this way, the Mets were able to solve all of their early issues in the game, including the short and ineffective start for Carlos Carrasco, who allowed three in four innings. They also avoided falling into a virtual tie atop the NL East. While that division may come down to a three-game streak between the Mets and Braves at the beginning of October, the Mets would like to get into this week with their squad untouched.
So, as Lindor pointed out, every game counts, and Showalter runs that way. Faced with trouble at the eighth, he turned to Edwin Diaz to save four, which the All-Stars executed more closely with confidence. Diaz hit three of the four hits he faced, including Colton Wong and Andrew McCutchen in fastballs 101 and 102 mph to finish things off.
“I mean, that’s fun,” Alonso said. “That’s what you’re all excited about. That’s what you work for off-season – that kind of racing. You have two great teams, but it’s really fun because you’re going to find out what you’re made of.”
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