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.
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, adding seven runs, six earned, including two homers and two batters walked over four innings.
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 J.T. 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.
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.
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.