Jeff McNeil’s 3-run homer powers Mets to 8-2 win over the Phillies – The Mercury News

Jeff McNeil stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning with runners at the corners and his team down by one.

McNeil, the Mets’ ever reliable hitter this season, was the perfect candidate to try to get at least Francisco Lindor, who was at third, home. He did the Amazin’s two better.

The left fielder crushed Phillies starter Zach Eflin’s 93 mph sinker and sent it straight to the Coca Cola corner. It was the perfect catalyst in the Mets’ eventual 8-2 win over the Phillies and their hapless defense.

“My job right there is to get that run from third base,” McNeil said after the game, “didn’t really care how, didn’t care if it was really a double play, just try to put the ball in play, try to tie the game. Kinda threw the barrel at the ball, barreled it well and happy to keep it fair.”

It was also a welcome pick-me-up for Taijuan Walker, who had to grind through his final two innings of his start Saturday at Citi Field. Walker finished his five-inning, 88-pitch effort having given up two earned runs on six hits, two walks and just one strikeout. It was still a quality start by Walker, especially when considering the last time he saw these Phillies — on May 5, they lit up his stat sheet his, adding seven runs, six earned, including two homers and two batters walked over four innings.

“It’s tough, too, because it’s my fourth time facing these guys,” Walker said after Saturday’s game. “They’ve seen me a lot. Just wasn’t getting the swings and misses.”

On Saturday, Walker loaded the bases in the fourth inning on back-to-back singles to Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos and a walk to Rhys Hoskins. The next single he gave up, this time to JT Realmuto, proved costly. Luis Guillorme made a valiant effort trying to get the line drive that flew just out of his reach, but by the time the ball made its way to Starling Marte in right field, Harper already scored and Castellanos was mere feet from the plate.

“I didn’t like [the outing],” Walker said, explaining he didn’t like that his pitch count got up so high so soon and that so many runners were on the bases. Walker also said his execution his was just off and his fastball command his was n’t there, particularly highlighting his lack of curveballs and missing slider.

The Phils had a 2-1 lead.

Walker got out of the inning and through the fifth without allowing more damage. But the Mets’ bats were always there.

“I told the boys to pick me up and that’s what they did,” Walker said.

After the rocky top of the fourth Walker had, there was Lindor, who worked Eflin’s pitches for a walk on full count. Pete Alonso then smacked a single into the center field gap, electrifying an unyielding crowd as a steady curtain of rain descended on the stadium.

McNeil’s bomb was the cherry on top. He pointed at the crowd with his right hand as he trotted around first base.

It was also McNeil’s second home run in five games.

The hit parade continued into the fifth inning on Guillorme’s single, Marte’s double and then Lindor’s accidental triple — the shortstop hit one out to the left field wall, but even with two men, Kyle Schwarber and Odubel Herrera, chasing down the ball, they both missed it, it fell to the warning track and Lindor just kept running. He might’ve been caught at third base, but the throw to Alec Bohm was just out of his reach and Lindor was able to slide in safely. And in all the bumbling around, Guillorme and Marte scored, extending Lindor’s RBI streak to six games.

Alonso then hit a sacrifice flyout to score Lindor.

“One through nine, everyone’s always doing something,” Walker said of this Mets offense, “whether it’s small ball, infield hits, long ball, doubles, stealing bases, whatever it is… I think we just do the little things right.”


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