The swing, by now familiar for its violence, created a fluorescent blur that added a streak of orange. Then came the boom, and the baseball soaring to leftfield, as if shot out of a cannon.
Yoenis Cespedes admired it for a moment, not unusual for him, then started his jog around the bases. In the stands, a vendor reached out and caught the mighty drive with his bare hand. In the dugout, an entire team exhaled. It would be one of those days.
Such is the power of Cespedes, whose grand slam set the tone for the Mets’ 10-3 rout of the Braves.
During a hot stretch the Mets have used to revive their season, the wins have mostly come after tense affairs. But on Sunday, they enjoyed a rare reprieve.
Cespedes’ 30th home run of a splendid season came in the third inning. It provided a 5-0 lead for the Mets, who claimed their sixth straight series victory. They moved back into the second wild-card spot when the Cardinals lost to the Brewers.
Seth Lugo, the 34th-rounder, continued his unlikely emergence into a rotation savior. He allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, propelled by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. In the rotation only because of injuries, Lugo improved to 4-2 with a 2.40 ERA.
Cespedes finished with five RBIs. James Loney knocked in a pair of runs, including one on a solo shot, his first homer since July 29. Asdrubal Cabrera finished with three hits, including a triple, and three runs scored.
Through the years, Turner Field has been a house of torment for the Mets, who began the day with a 66-106 record here. But just as the Braves prepare to move into a gleaming suburban ballpark, the Mets have figured out how to win here.
The Mets bid adieu by winning 11 of their last 14 games at Turner Field, including a 7-3 mark this season.
In their last 21 games, the Mets are 16-5. In little more than three weeks, they have gone from two games below .500 to nine games over.