Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets celebrates with his teammates after...

Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets celebrates with his teammates after defeating the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets’ 3-2 win over the Marlins on Saturday looked a lot like plenty of their other wins this year. They ground down the opposing pitcher, got a couple of timely hits in big moments, received excellent pitching of their own and cruised to a low-key, ho-hum victory over a team that clearly is not as good as they are.

This time it was Taijuan Walker who starred, retiring 18 consecutive batters on his way to 6 2⁄3 innings of one-run ball. Francisco Lindor smacked his second home run in as many days. Jeff McNeil put the Mets ahead in the second with a two-out, two-strike RBI single. Drew Smith (four outs) and Edwin Diaz (three outs) finished it off, with Diaz stranding the potential tying run at second base.

They came, they played and they conquered, and they’ll try to do it again Sunday.

If they are boring, it is in the best way.

“That says a lot about the team,” Lindor said. “The pitching staff is outstanding. And the offense is doing a fantastic job of capitalizing whenever we have opportunities to capitalize on, so that’s always huge. And we’re playing good defense as well.”

Manager Buck Showalter said: “That’s a really good recipe, but you can only do it if you got pitchers like Tai and Drew and Edwin.”

With wins in four of five games this week, the Mets improved to 44-23. It is the first time they have been 21 games over .500 since late September 2015 and the first time they have been 21 games over .500 in June since 1988.

 

The Mets’ lead in the NL East is back up to 6 1⁄2 games over second-place Atlanta.

The lineup forced Marlins lefthander Braxton Garrett into throwing 75 pitches across four innings despite his eight-pitch, 1-2-3 first.

Lindor’s home run came in the third with Starling Marte (single) on first base. He swung at Garrett’s 2-and-2 fastball at the top of the strike zone and planted it over the wall in left-centerfield. That upped Lindor’s RBI total to 51. Last year he didn’t reach that number until Sept. 12.

Of the four players across the majors with at least 50 RBIs, the Mets have two: Lindor and Pete Alonso (63).

Walker was excellent, finishing with one run, one walk and nine strikeouts. Upon being pulled in the seventh inning, he was fired up over “a little bit of everything,” he said: walking Jazz Chisholm Jr. on four pitches to allow his first baserunner since the first inning, leaving a slider over the plate to Avisail Garcia for an RBI double and not being afforded the chance to get one more out.

“I really wanted to finish that seventh inning, but we got lockdown guys in the bullpen,” Walker said.

His 19 strikeouts over his past two starts are his second most over a two-game span in his career.

“I expect to see a lot of strikeouts as the year goes on,” he said, crediting his slider rounding into form for that development. “I just feel really good right now.”

Walker’s outing began conspicuously, with Miami leadoff man Jon Berti beating out a single on a ground ball to shortstop and stealing second and third. But Walker struck out the next three hitters — Chisholm, Jorge Soler and Garrett Cooper, all looking — to strand Berti and begin his perfect run.

The Marlins (28-35) didn’t have another baserunner until Chisholm walked to lead off the seventh.

Walker’s 2.88 ERA is the lowest among the Mets’ regular starting pitchers.

“I’ve seen a lot of good outings from Taijuan,” Showalter said. “That’s about as good of stuff, an outing as he’s had.”