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akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

NEW YORK — On a night in which the patchwork New York Mets offense had their biggest offensive explosion of the season, it was only fitting that the player most personifying the resilience and flexibility shown by the team in keeping afloat amidst their flood of injuries spearheaded the offensive assault.

Catcher-turned-auxiliary-first-baseman James McCann had his third career four-hit day, including a home run to first put New York on the board in the Mets’ 13-2 victory over Atlanta at Citi Field on Saturday, their third consecutive victory. MaCann was joined by Jonathan Villar, Brandon Drury, Billy McKinney and Francisco Lindor in the home run parade, all in support of starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who went five scoreless innings.

While seven of the Mets’ Opening Day starters remain on the injured list, the team has managed to scratch out victories on the backs of stalwart pitching and defense, as evidenced by their last series in which the team took three out of four against the Colorado Rockies despite scoring just 10 total runs. By the sixth inning on Saturday night, the Mets had 11 runs after McKinney’s three-run moonshot to right for an 11-1 lead.

The offensive party started with McCann, starting at first base once again for the injured Pete Alonso, who launched a first-inning solo shot to right off Atlanta starter Ian Anderson for the first run of the game. Coming into the game batting .196, McCann went 4-for-5 on the night while recording a hit in each of his first four at-bats, coming up just a triple away from the cycle.

“It was really nice. It’s taken us a while to put together a game like this,” McCann said. “Guys coming though in good spots, and I think each batter one through seven had an RBI. Everyone contributed, and it makes it fun in the dugout.”

The fun usually etched on the face of Lindor belied his struggles at the plate this season, but New York’s newest star showed signs of a breakout in going 2-for-5, including a home run to right-center field in the seventh that caught the attention of his manager, who thinks the best is soon to come offensively.

“I feel really good right now watching Lindor use the big part of the field,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “For him to stay in the gaps and take a couple of swings in that direction says a lot that he’s in a better place. A lot of good things are going to happen if he stays like that, and tonight he did it.”

Walker made his first start in 12 days after leaving his start after three innings in Atlanta on May 17 due to left side tightness and kept his All-Star-caliber season going, striking out eight batters in his five scoreless innings of work. On the season, Walker is now 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He also drew a walk at the plate despite orders from the team not to take a swing during his turns in the batter’s box.

Walker made his first start in 12 days after leaving his start after three innings in Atlanta on May 17 due to left side tightness and kept his All-Star-caliber season going, striking out eight batters in his five scoreless innings of work. On the season, Walker is now 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He also drew a walk at the plate despite orders from the team not to take a swing during his turns in the batter’s box.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, and after clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 29 pictures in total.

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Tags : Atlanta BravesJames McCannMajor League BaseballNew York Mets

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