Mets' Jeff McNeil is greeted by Pete Alonso after his...

Mets' Jeff McNeil is greeted by Pete Alonso after his three-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Saturday, May 28, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It rained hard Saturday night at Citi Field, but only for about four minutes — and those happened to be the most dramatic minutes of the Mets’ 8-2 win over the Phillies.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, moments after Philadelphia took a lead, a drizzle started. Francisco Lindor worked a full-count leadoff walk. Hundreds of fans went scurrying for cover; those who remained got loud.

Pete Alonso singled to center, putting runners at the corners with none out. The rain and the rally — and the crowd-provided electricity — seemed to surge in unison. Then it began to pour as Jeff McNeil stepped to the plate.

When Phillies righthander Zach Eflin offered a 2-and-2 sinker down and in, McNeil did what he tends to do with those kinds of pitches, hooking it down the rightfield line and into the second deck for a go-ahead three-run home run.

He had no doubt. McNeil turned his back to the field, flipped his bat, hopped down the first-base line and pointed to his enthused teammates in the dugout as he began his trot around the bases, the rain still falling and the fans rising to their feet.

“I’m not a big fan of hitting in the rain,” McNeil said. “It is a little bit tougher. You got the rain dripping down from your helmet. It’s harder to see the ball. In that instance, I’m really not trying to do anything exciting or special. I’m just trying to basically not strike out.”

The Mets (31-17) had plenty more highlights from there, including Lindor’s three RBIs, but the fate of the game had been decided. They clinched a 12th series victory in 15 tries. On Memorial Day weekend, they lead the NL East by 8 1⁄2 games.

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W/L: 13-9

ERA: 2.41

K/9: 11.6

WHIP: 1.071


W/L: 10-7

ERA: 2.81

K/9: 10.1

WHIP: 1.088

The Phillies (21-26), meanwhile, played the brand of baseball — featuring atrocious defense — for which they have become known in recent years.

The game still was close until the Mets tacked on three runs in the fifth inning. With two runners in scoring position, Lindor lofted a fly ball deep to left-centerfield. Kyle Schwarber and Odubel Herrera converged. Both stuck out their gloves. Both turned their heads away. Neither caught the ball. Somehow it became a two-run triple for Lindor, who was not running hard at the beginning of the play but who was fired up upon reaching third base.

Lindor scored on Alonso’s sacrifice fly, which Schwarber managed to catch.

That rally brought statistical feats for both run-producing Mets.

Alonso has 29 RBIs this month, a Mets record for May. He broke a tie with Willie Montanez, who had 28 RBIs in May 1978.

Lindor has at least one RBI in a career-high six consecutive games (and 14 total in that stretch). His 37 RBIs are one more than he had in the first half last year.

“The whole year has been the same way from spring training,” Lindor said of the Mets’ ability to pick each other up. “It’s like nobody’s trying to be the hero. Let’s just focus on what’s in front of [them] in that moment. And if that person doesn’t get it done, the person behind them will get it. That’s why we’re a team.”

The Mets reached Eflin for seven runs and eight hits in six innings.

Taijuan Walker had a much better final line: five innings, two runs, six hits. But he had three walks (to one strikeout), managed only one perfect inning and worked around quite a bit of hard contact.

“I didn’t like it,” Walker said of his outing. “Any time you go out there and get four-plus runs, as a starting pitcher, you can go out there and be aggressive and just attack them. I gave up two runs and I told the boys to pick me up and they did.”

Buck Showalter said: “His command wasn’t quite as crisp, but key was how he fought through those five innings .  .  . Sometimes those types of outings are more gratifying than the great outing he had last time out.”


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