Something wild appears to be going on with the Mets.
Fresh off taking four of five from fellow wild-card contenders in San Francisco and St. Louis, the Mets returned home on Friday night and blasted the also-ran Phillies, 9-4, before 31,111 at Citi Field.
Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back homers to start the bottom of the first inning and Wilmer Flores had a fifth-inning grand slam. Bartolo Colon pitched into the eighth and had a double and single for the Mets, who started the night 3½ games back of an NL wild-card berth.
The Mets will have to leap-frog three teams to make the playoffs. But at least they are doing their part since starting their recent road trip with four losses in five games.
Flores got a curtain call for his grand slam against Phillies lefthander Adam Morgan (1-8). Flores’ 14th home run of the season gave the Mets a 6-1 lead.
“That moment was huge because we weren’t able to break it open [earlier],” manager Terry Collins said of Flores’ slam. “We had some opportunities and couldn’t capitalize on it . . . I thought that was certainly the biggest hit of the game for us.”
Still, the largest ovations of the night belonged to Colon, who laced a double to left to lead off the fifth and scored on Flores’ slam.
Colon also singled in the sixth and later scored on Cabrera’s two-run shot (his second home run of the game and 15th of the season).
It was the 43-year-old Colon’s first two-hit game since Aug. 9, 2002. “It took me back when I got the second hit to when I played with the Expos,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I remembered the second hit.”
Colon didn’t allow a hit until Odubel Herrera doubled with one out in the fifth inning.
Colon (12-7) went seven-plus innings and allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
When Reyes and Cabrera started the bottom of the first with home runs, it was only the second time in franchise history the Mets had accomplished the feat. Reyes and Ruben Gotay led off the bottom of the first with home runs on July 12, 2007 against the Reds at Shea Stadium. The Mets went on to win that game, but only by a 3-2 score.
It appeared the Mets might be facing another low-scoring game before Flores went deep. Morgan, who came in with a 6.21 ERA, worked out of trouble in the third when he got Flores to ground into an inning-ending double play with two men on and was close to escaping a more perilous jam in the fifth.
Colon opened the inning with a line double to left-center. Reyes followed with a bloop double down the rightfield line with Colon chugging only to third.
Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes both grounded out to leave the runners temporarily stranded. Neil Walker, just back from paternity leave, walked to load the bases. Flores sent the next pitch over the wall in left-center for his third career grand slam.
The Mets added three more in the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud doubled home a run before Cabrera’s second home run made it 9-1.
The Phillies knocked out Colon in a three-run eighth. Cesar Hernandez had a two-run double and Aaron Altherr added an RBI double on Colon’s 101st and final pitch to make it 9-4.
Still, Colon got a sustained standing ovation as he walked off.
“My guess is Bart’s not used to legging all those hits out and scoring from third,” Collins said of Colon tiring in the eighth. “It might have taken a little starch out of him.”
Hansel Robles finished off the eighth and Jeurys Familia the ninth. The Mets went into the night checking the scoreboard to see what the Giants, Cardinals, Marlins and Pirates were doing (none of their games were over when Familia threw his final pitch).
Two of those five teams will make it. The Mets would like to be one. Ah, the thrill of wild-card era baseball.