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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Nimmo giving Mets much-needed boost

Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets

Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets celebrates his first inning two run home run against the Chicago Cubs with teammate Brandon Nimmo #9 at Citi Field on Saturday, July 2, 2016 in the Queens Borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Brandon Nimmo led off the bottom of the first against Jake Arrieta on Saturday night with a walk. The rookie sprinted to first base, a la Pete Rose. There was nothing walky about it.

The Mets went on to beat the Cubs, 4-3, for their third win in a row. So obviously Nimmo’s energy is what sparked the Mets to each and every win.

Thus concludes this edition of baseball for the simple-minded. You know the game is more complicated than that and that much more goes into winning and losing than Nimmo running when most players would jog.

Still, Nimmo is a pretty big breath of fresh air for a team that was reeling after getting swept by the Nationals last week.

When he hit a single for his first career RBI on Thursday, Nimmo couldn’t help but flash a toothy smile on the bases. Probably a baseball no-no for all but a neophyte.

Then he hit his first home run Friday night — a three-run shot, to boot — and got a curtain call from the Citi Field faithful.

(Aside: Remember when there used to be a lot more curtain calls for both the Mets and Yankees after home runs? Why are they so rare now? Discuss.)

For Nimmo, the 23-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyoming, who quotes a Bible verse every day on Twitter, it was the culmination of a professional journey that began when he was the Mets’ first-round pick way back in 2011. It took him longer than expected, perhaps, to get here. But he made it, and he got to jump out of a major-league dugout for the first time.

“I didn’t know what was going on at first,” he said. “I was loving everything in the dugout and I was just enjoying the moment and I couldn’t believe it just happened. Dickie [Scott, the bench coach] was like, ‘Get out there, Brandon!’ That’s when I noticed the crowd noise. And I was like, ‘OK, all right.’ Then I went and ran up there and it was amazing. That’s a dream come true because I didn’t ever really think I would . . . I don’t know, it just never occurred to me that I would ever get a curtain call. To be able to get that the second game here at Citi Field, just amazing, and I can’t hardly put it into words. I feel very, very thankful and very blessed right now.”

Nimmo went 1-for-3 with that first-inning walk Saturday night. When Neil Walker homered to give the Mets a quick 2-0 lead, Nimmo could have trotted around the bases. He sprinted.

Since his call-up Monday, Nimmo is 8-for-28 (.286).

“It’s nice to have those young guys come up because they bring energy,” manager Terry Collins said. “They’re in the big leagues for the first time — no matter where they were — they’re in the big leagues for the first time and bring energy. And Brandon has done that for us now.”

Young players can bring energy. It’s also helpful if they get hits and walks and hit home runs. If they don’t, they’ll be back in the minors.

Remember, Nimmo is here because Michael Conforto couldn’t get out of a six-week slump and had to be sent to Triple-A. Last year, the call-up of Conforto was one of the big moves that sparked the Mets to the World Series. So you have to keep doing it.

Conforto’s promise and Nimmo’s emergence have given Mets fans a glimpse of what the future may hold in the corner outfield spots. Two sweet-swinging lefty hitters at the top of the lineup.

Nimmo’s Twitter handle, by the way, is “You_Found_Nim mo.” The can’t-stop-smiling kid from Cheyenne is a small fish in a big pond. But he’s getting bigger every day.

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