Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores lead Mets to 10th win in row
The Mets are the best team in baseball. Let that all soak in for a second.
Remember that plenty of season remains. Understand that fate has been cruel here before. Realize that things can change with one twinge of the elbow, one grounder through the legs, one overzealous fan reaching over the railing.
Then, appreciate the incomprehensible reality of the moment. The Mets have won 10 in a row for the first time since 2008. They have yet to lose at Citi Field. And by virtue of Wednesday night's 3-2 win over the Braves, they own a 12-3 record that is the best in all of baseball.
"Everybody's showing up to the ballpark thinking we're going to win," Matt Harvey said. "It's a lot different than it has been in the past."
The recent past has been defined by the Mets coming up small. And as recently as last year, they wouldn't have strung together the plays that were needed Wednesday night.
In the eighth inning, the Mets looked flat, finding themselves locked in a 2-2 tie with the Braves. They had done well just to do that much.
Then, Curtis Granderson came off the bench to work a walk.
"You should have heard the roar in the dugout," said manager Terry Collins, who watched a familiar scene unfold.
With Juan Lagares at the plate, Collins signaled for a rare hit and run, a play he loathes because of all that can go wrong. This time, it worked. Lagares reached across the plate, caught the ball with the end of his bat, and rolled one through the hole.
Lucas Duda followed with a go-ahead single, scoring Granderson, who had advanced to third. In the ninth, Jeurys Familia nailed down his big-league leading seventh save.
And with that, the 20,971 at Citi Field serenaded the best team in baseball. For just the ninth time in franchise history, the Mets have a double-digit winning streak.
It came after reliever Buddy Carlyle (1-0) stranded a pair of runners in the eighth, and after Wilmer Flores twice came through with game-tying hits, including his third home run of the homestand.
In the third, second baseman Ruben Tejada made a leaping grab to rob Nick Markakis of an extra-base hit. In the seventh, Gold Glover Lagares added to his collection of spectacular catches, fighting the wind for a seemingly impossible over-the-shoulder catch that sent Jace Peterson back to the dugout shaking his head.
"That one was the hardest [catch] I've made so far," Lagares said. "I really don't know how I made that catch."
Of course, this is a time for the inexplicable. What's next: The No. 7 train runs on time? Smooth sailing on the LIE? Free bridge tolls? None of it would be as strange as what has gone on in Flushing.
During their winning streak, the Mets have outscored opponents 51-28. Now, they stand on the brink of matching the franchise record of 11 straight wins. It has been achieved just four times in franchise history.
Every Mets team to reach that hallowed ground has gone on to winning seasons. That includes the 1969 and 1986 teams, both World Series champions.
"Everybody's coming here ready to play, ready to pick each other up," Harvey said. "Despite the injuries that we've had, there are guys here who still believe we're going to win, who still believe we're on the cusp of doing a lot of things."