By Joe Rini
NEW YORK, May 28 — The New York Mets blasted the Philadelphia Phillies by a final score of 8–2 on Fireworks Night at Citi Field on Saturday. Fireworks lit up the Citi Field sky after the game while the Mets’ offense lit it up during the game. Their offense displayed a full arsenal of weapons from a bunt single to an upper-deck three-run home run. The NL East division leaders raised their record to 31–17, and look to complete the weekend sweep of the Phillies on Sunday night.
McNeil and Lindor Power Mets’ Offense
Dom Smith’s sacrifice fly plated the Mets’ first run in the second inning. Singling with one out, Eduardo Escobar promptly advanced to third base on a single to right field by Mark Canha. With runners on the corners, Smith’s fly to center field gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.
However, in the fourth inning, the Phillies gained a 2–1 lead on a bases-loaded single by J.T. Realmuto. His soft liner to short right-centerfield, just beyond the reach of a leaping Luis Guillorme, scored the Phillies’ first two runs. Laboring through the fourth inning, Taijuan Walker limited the damage by retiring Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded.
However, the Mets’ offense quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the fourth inning. A leadoff walk to Francisco Lindor and a role reversal by Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil scored three runs for the Mets. The power-hitting Alonso lofted a ball to the opposite field, again putting runners on the corners for McNeil. The spray-hitting McNeil promptly pulled a three-run home run into the second deck in right field and the Mets lead stretched to 4–2.
The Mets’ offense pulled away with three runs in the fifth inning. Lindor tripled in two runs after Guillorme and Starling Marte bunt-singled and doubled with one out. Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly to right field and the Mets extended their nice lead to 7–2. Two innings later, Lindor scored Guillorme with a single as the Mets upped their lead to 8–2.
Mets Milestones for Lindor and Alonso
Lindor and Alonso set a couple of RBI milestones for themselves in the game. Lindor set a personal high with RBI in six straight games, while Alonso’s 29th RBI of the month established a new team record for May. Meanwhile, Guillorme reached base four times batting from the leadoff position. Singling three times, he raised his batting average to a season-high .352.
Holderman Boosts Bullpen
Walker gutted his way through five innings for his third win. However, rookie reliever Colin Holderman may have been the pitching star of the night with two scoreless innings. Holderman quickly dispatched the Phillies on 21 pitches in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out three batters. Opening his MLB career with eight scoreless innings in six appearances, Holderman’s boosted the Mets bullpen. Adam Ottavino and Seth Lugo closed out the game with scoreless outings apiece. Zac Eflin took the loss (1–4), allowing seven runs in six innings.
This reporter from “Last Word on Sports” asked manager Buck Showalter about the influence of veterans Ottavino and Lugo on young relievers Holderman and Drew Smith. Showalter said, “They keep them in a sense of reality,” dealing with the “negative feeding frenzy and positive feeding frenzy” of pitching in the big leagues, “because they’ve been on both sides of it.”
Broadcaster Ed Coleman Honored
The Mets honored long-time radio broadcaster Ed Coleman before the game. The recently retired Coleman hosted the Mets’ pre and postgame shows for years. Showalter presented Coleman with a jersey, David Wright sent a video message, and Coleman threw out the ceremonial first pitch.