On a night when everything went right for the Mets, one of their keys to success stood out for its significance to them potentially saving their season: Francisco Lindor is hot, and Pete Alonso might be getting there.
They ignited both early, tone-setting rallies as the Mets rattled off a fifth consecutive victory, 9-0 over the Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Lindor finished 5-for-5 with a home run and two triples. In his last at-bat, needing a double to complete the cycle, he lined a ball just foul, then shot a single to rightfield — a routine hit, though he still took a big turn at first base, just in case. Over the past month, Lindor has upped his OPS from .688 to .788.
Alonso went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, on a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning and an RBI double in the third (scoring Lindor both times). That makes two long balls so far in July, already half of his June total.
As the Mets inch toward a .500 record — they are up to 41-46 — and try to get back into the wild-card race, their Nos. 3 and 4 batters hitting in a way befitting those spots in the order would help.
“If we do what we’re capable of doing, we’re definitely going to be winning a lot more games,” said Lindor, who nearly didn’t play Wednesday because an overnight illness left him dehydrated. “We hit three and four for a reason . . . Hopefully we can be a little more consistent there.”
Manager Buck Showalter said: “It’s not easy to do what we ask them to do every day. At the end of the year, we know where they’re going to be (statistically). But they need help. We’re getting it right now.”
In completing the sweep of the NL West-leading Diamondbacks (50-38), the Mets also got big games from Francsico Alvarez (home run for a third straight game) and Carlos Carrasco (eight scoreless innings). They pummeled righthander Ryne Nelson for seven runs in three innings. Daniel Vogelbach, Starling Marte and Luis Guillorme had two hits apiece.
Carrasco’s outing was arguably his best in three seasons with the Mets. After walking his first batter, Geraldo Perdomo, he picked him off to end the bottom of the first — then allowed only three additional baserunners, all on singles, the rest of the night. Critical to his success, he said, was an above-average ability to locate his fastball and a new-grip slider he continues to enjoy.
Showalter said he might have allowed Carrasco to pitch the ninth to try to complete the shutout, but he wanted to get righthander Trevor Gott into the game for his Mets debut.
“I was looking for it,” Carrasco said of the final frame. “But at the end I always respect the decision they make.”
Over his past eight starts, Carrasco has allowed two or fewer runs six times, posting a 3.61 ERA in that span.
Alvarez homered to cap a five-run rally in the top of the third, his 16th of the year — most among catchers.
He wound up the center attention in the seventh as well. A 97-mph fastball from Arizona’s Jose Ruiz clipped Alvarez, who took one step toward the mound and glared at Ruiz. Plate umpire Tripp Gibson put himself between Alvarez and the mound, but both dugouts and bullpens emptied. Everybody milled around for about a minute before returning to their proper places.
Alvarez insisted he didn’t say anything upon getting hit to trigger Gibson’s reaction.
“The reason why I looked at (Ruiz) was to see if he was looking back at me, but he was looking at the floor,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “At the end of the day, I’m ready for whatever reaction they want. If they did it on purpose or if they did it to make me feel bad, what they should do is strike me out there.”