CHICAGO -- The moment left Jeurys Familia paralyzed -- unable to speak, to think, to process all the pain and all the agony he had just swept away. So, after he threw the pitch that sent the Mets to the World Series, he did the only thing that felt right.
He dropped to his knees and stretched his arms into the air, his actions conveying what his words could not.
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"I wanted to say 'thank God,'" said Familia, whose strikeout of the Cubs' Dexter Fowler completed a stunning four-game sweep in the National League Championship Series.
At precisely 10:39 p.m Wednesday night, an 8-3 victory over the Cubs passed into history and vaulted the Mets to their first pennant in 15 years. For just the fifth time in 54 tortured seasons of existence, the Mets are playing in the World Series.
"The World Series!" an incredulous David Wright said. "The World Series!"
Yes, that World Series, the one that the Mets hope to win for the first time since 1986. The one that few believed would be within their reach. The one they enter playing perhaps their best baseball in a season that has revived this franchise.
The end came with the blunt force of a Chase Utley takeout slide. It was quick. It was powerful. It was ruthless. And for these Mets, it all seemed so fitting.
At some point amid the trades gone bad, the tears on the infield, the suspensions, the cold streaks, and then the second-half renaissance, the Mets underwent a metamorphosis. They became bullies, the Cubs their helpless victims.
Lucas Duda thawed from his October cold streak, tying a postseason club record with five RBIs. They came on a three-run homer in the first, followed by a two-run double in the second to give the Mets a 6-0 lead before the 44,227 at Wrigley Field could settle in.
Travis d'Arnaud added a solo shot in the first.
Daniel Murphy, the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, lashed four hits, including a two-run shot in the eighth that sent the chill of winter through the Friendly Confines. He crossed the plate, raised his hand to the sky, then lost himself in a sea of teammates in the dugout.
"I really can't explain it," he said. "It's just a complete blessing, and that's the only way I can describe it."
The Mets' breakout star hit .529 (9-for-17 with four homers). He has homered seven times in the postseason, and in six straight playoff games, the first ever to accomplish the feat.
Long Island's Steven Matz worked 42/3 innings, forced to work out of trouble in the fourth and then again in the fifth, before he was pulled for Bartolo Colon. But he was good enough to hold the Cubs to one run, capping a brilliant run for the Mets' stable of young arms.
"We're here, and we're here to stay," said a champagne-soaked Noah Syndergaard. "And we're going to be here for a long time."
In banishing the Cubs to their 107th consecutive season without a championship, Mets pitching held one of baseball's most explosive offenses to eight runs in four games. Meanwhile, the Mets set a franchise record with 14 homers, eclipsing the 12 by the 1969 world championship team.
After needing a heart-stopping Game 5 win to get past the Dodgers, the Mets made it look easy against the Cubs.
"I was," said manager Terry Collins, who admitted he was surprised. "But I knew we had good pitching."
The only downer of the night came in the second inning when Yoenis Cespedes left the game with what the team called a sore left shoulder. He insisted that his shoulder will be ready for the World Series.
"If not,'' he said, "I'll chop it off and put a new one on.''
By the end of the evening, his biggest worry was making sure his teammates did not hug him too hard in the mad celebration. It spilled from the shoebox-sized clubhouse to the field, where hundreds of Mets fans pressed up near the railing to celebrate.
Collins doused them with champagne.
"They deserve it," said Collins, who at 12, got a note from his mom to stay home from school to watch the World Series. "Because they hung in there. We had some rough years, but they hung in there."
The players and their families rejoiced, cheered on at every turn by those that had lingered. And from a seat in the stands above the fray, general manager Sandy Alderson sat alone, watching the scene unfold before him.
"We have one goal," Mets ace Matt Harvey said. "And that is to finish the thing."