The size and scope of this Mets win does not register best on the scoreboard, the standings or even the record book. Try the Richter scale. They shook the earth at Citi Field with the way they finished a four-game sweep of the Cubs, who entered Sunday with the majors’ best record but had to feel shaken as they left.
With a 14-3 victory, the Mets continued a dominant stretch over the Cubs, matching a four-game sweep in the National League Championship Series last October. Plus, they lifted their own spirits. They did it with an effort of seismic proportions, rocking star lefthander Jon Lester and tying a two-day-old Citi Field record with five home runs.
Two of those were by Wilmer Flores, who went 6-for-6 despite — or in response to — the approaching footsteps of third baseman-in-training Jose Reyes. Fans sang Flores’ name and gave him standing ovations.
Never in his life, even as a kid, had Flores had a six-hit game. The only Met to do it was Edgardo Alfonzo on Aug. 30, 1999. These days, Alfonzo is a coach in the Mets’ chain who has helped Reyes learn to play third base, ostensibly preparing him to take Flores’ place. Small world.
It is a sign of the club’s recent desperation that the hope lately has focused on Reyes’ return. Gloom had settled heavily over the Mets as they came home after getting swept by the division-leading Nationals earlier in the week. “Things change,” Terry Collins said.
The mood could not have been more different after Sunday’s game. “That’s just baseball. You’re going to have good series, you’re going to have bad series,” said Curtis Granderson, who started the blitz with a tying home run in the bottom of the first that Collins insisted was the biggest of the team’s 22 hits, tied for the most ever by the Mets in a home game.
Upheaval was the name of the game yesterday. Lester, after being named the league’s pitcher of the month, had the shortest outing of his career: 1 1⁄3 innings. He allowed eight runs, the exact number he had given up in all of June. Before the second out of the second inning, each player in the Mets’ lineup had reached base. Before it was over, the Cubs had a catcher pitching and the Mets had a pitcher pinch hitting. Miguel Montero retired Jacob deGrom on a pop to left in the seventh.
Nothing was as ground-rattling, though, as the difference in the Mets’ outlook. Their seven-run, eight-hit outburst in the second inning would have been inconceivable as recently as Wednesday night. “We were a little down,” said Noah Syndergaard, a master of understatement. He made his own statement on the mound Sunday after a shaky outing in Washington. This time he allowed one run in seven innings (seven hits, no walks, eight strikeouts).
Flores was the standard-bearer, having been 0-for-14 in the previous four days. “It’s definitely a good feeling to be a part of history,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, my sixth at-bat, I thought about it. I didn’t want to face a [catcher], but he threw one down the middle and I hit it.”
He quickly swiped away a question about Reyes (“That’s not my choice; I’m ready to play”), and his teammates were thrilled for him. “Since I met him, he has always been doing his best to get better and better,” said Rene Rivera, who had one of the homers, as did pinch hitter Kelly Johnson. “He did what he was capable of.”
Flores could not recall ever having more than four hits in a game before. So he will happily hang on to the memory, and more. “I’ll keep the bat,” he said. “I broke it in my last at-bat.”
The Mets’ offense dominated in their four-game sweep:
32 Runs 11
12 HR 6
48 Hits 32