New York — Jeff McNeil hit the go-ahead, three-run home run over the right field fence in the fourth. We don’t know if it was the quick down pour of rain or McNeil witnessing a bird wreck into an aisle in right field that bought him a dab of luck, but whatever it was the Mets will take it.
Francisco Lindor drove in three runs to extend his RBI streak to a career-best six games as the NY Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 on Saturday night at Citi Field in front of 37,455 fans.
“I just saw it before I took that at-bat, and I hit a homer,” McNeil said.
The Mets were trailing 2-1 in the fourth. McNeil was at the end of the dugout, about to bat, when he spotted something odd in right. He turned to manager Buck Showalter and tried to explain what he’d just witnessed an eagle crashed into the stands.
“I was kind of staring out into space, into nothing, and I saw something,” McNeil said. “I don’t know what it was. It was a bird.”
Starter Taijuan Walker (3-0) didn’t have his best stuff, but limited the Phillies to two runs in five innings. The Mets improved to 31-17. They will go for the three-game sweep Sunday night in their final game against the Phillies.
The Mets rallied against starter Zach Eflin (1-4). Lindor walked and Pete Alonso singled to center, then McNeil smoked a homer into the second deck in the right field bleachers. He flipped his bat and stared into New York’s dugout as the ball flew into the stands for a 4-2 lead.
The Mets have now scored five or more runs in seven of their last 10 games. Lindor has been a catalyst, going 17-for-36 (.472) with 15 runs and 15 RBI during that stretch. He has raised his slash line to .260/.352/.459 from .228/.315/.393.
The rain slowed up in the fifth inning, but the Mets kept their foot on the gas pedal. Luis Guillorme led off with a bunt single, Starling Marte doubled, and both scored on Lindor’s triple. Lindor drove in another run with a single in the seventh and had 14 RBI’s during his six-game run.
“He’s been swinging at a lot of pitches in the white part of the plate,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.
Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and J.T. Realmuto had two hits each, but the Phillies couldn’t push runs across the board. They went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
“I feel good. I’m happy,” Lindor said. “Whatever it takes to help the team win. I’m coming through at the right time. I’m glad we came up with the W today.”
Part of Lindor’s success has been his patience at the plate, where he has also drawn 12 walks in the last 16 games.
“I don’t really look into that much numbers,” Lindor said. “For me, it’s swinging at the pitches I want to swing at and putting it in play. I wasn’t doing that earlier. Then not swinging at the ones I don’t want to, stay away from those. That’s it pretty much. That sums up everything that’s happening right now.”
Reliever Colin Holderman continued his spectacular start with two more scoreless innings.
With his two-pitch arsenal of a sinker and a cutter, Holderman struck out three and allowed just one hit across the sixth and seventh innings.
“That was two key innings there to come out there and attack a very good lineup,” Showalter said. “Colin has given us a little shot in the arm with some things that he’s bringing for us.”
The 26-year-old righty has not allowed an earned run in eight innings to begin his major league career. Holderman’s ability to shut down the Phillies kept Showalter from closer Edwin Diaz.
Adam Ottavino and Seth Lugo closed out the game with scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
Former Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler (3-3, 3.38) starts for the Phillies against New York RHP Chris Bassitt (4-2, 3.91) on Sunday night. Wheeler is 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA in nine starts against the Mets since signing a $118 million, five-year deal with Philadelphia prior to the 2020 season.