There was Michael Conforto, back in hole 3 and playing on the right ground after a five week absence. Jeff McNeil was at the top of the roster in his third game since returning from the injured list.
Conforto and McNeil have each reached base three times and Francisco Lindor delivered an early home run, helping the Mets end a two-game skid with a 7-3 win over the Braves at Citi Field.
“I’m glad to have them back,” said Lindor. “Even though the other guys did an amazing job replacing them, having McNeil and Conforto is going to be huge for us. “
For a team that had been sent off in back-to-back games – and four times during the week – the Mets had an easy night against Kyle Wright and the Braves’ bullpen. That, coupled with a strong performance from Tylor Megill on his major league debut and a respectable relief outing from Corey Oswalt, saw the Mets win for the 16th time in their last 21 home games.
Edwin Diaz was called in for a five-out save and responded, entering the eighth with two runners on base and striking out Pablo Sandoval and Ender Inciarte before working a scoreless ninth. Manager Luis Rojas said the only other relievers available in his exhausted relievers pen, in an emergency, were Seth Lugo and Drew Smith.
Conforto and McNeil are just two of the pieces the Mets rely on to become whole. Another, Brandon Nimmo, started a rehab mission last weekend for Triple-A Syracuse. Also on the horizon, JD Davis, also absent from the training of the Mets since the beginning of May.
“We’re a good team, but we’re not yet where we want to be and that will come,” said Lindor. “Once we have more consistency and all the pieces of the puzzle, it will be great to put them together. “
The Mets have scored five runs in the first two innings against Wright after scoring just four in their previous three games combined.
Lindor sprinted from third to first on wild ground to end a 17 scoreless streak since the opening game of the doubles program on Monday. Lindor walked and took third on Conforto’s one-two – a 110 mph scorcher in right field – in his first batsman on the injured list. Conforto scored the Mets’ second point on Dominic Smith’s choice of RBI outfielder.
“It was good to jump right into the action and test the hamstrings,” said Conforto. “I had no doubts about it but nonetheless it was good to have a good solid race and from there I stopped thinking about it and started thinking about playing the game. “
Lindor smashed a three-run homer in the second, after McNeil kept the inning alive with a two-out single. The home run was the ninth of the season for Lindor, who scored two in Game 1 of a doubles program in Washington on Saturday. Luis Guillorme started the rally with a brace that narrowly missed crossing the fence in the center left.
Megill had a shutout in the fifth but couldn’t finish the set. After taking Ehire Adrianza out in front of the frame, Megill ceded a two-run homerun to Inciarte who brought the Braves down to 5-2. After walking the next hitter, reliever Josh Tomlin, he was put out.
On 92 shots, the right-hander allowed two earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Megill, 25, an eighth-round pick in the 2018 draft, was 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts between Double-A Binghamton and Syracuse.
“I had the opportunity and wanted to go there with strength, make a statement and help the team win,” Megill said.
Megill’s presence was needed in a week when the Mets played a doubles program on Saturday in Washington and another on Citi Field on Monday. They will play their third doubles program of the week on Friday against the Phillies.
“I was impressed with his balance,” said Rojas.
Oswalt, selected in Syracuse ahead of the game to give the Mets relievers a new arm, gave the Mets 2 ¹ / ₃ inning and allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk. Miguel Castro allowed two runners to reach base after replacing Megill in the fifth, but escaped without further damage.