At least the Mets’ NL East hopes officially went up in smoke in style.
Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Jeff McNeil led the night off with back-to-back-to-back home runs, sparking a seven-run first inning before Francisco Alvarez hit his first-career major-league round-tripper later in the evening to clinch the Mets’ 100th victory of the season and a sweep of Tuesday night’s doubleheader against the Washington Nationals — with an 8-0 victory at Citi Field. They took the opener 4-2.
This is just the fourth time in franchise history that the Mets have recorded 100 or more wins in a season, joining the 1969, 1986, and 1988 teams to have done so.
However, they were officially taken out of contention for the National League East title after the Atlanta Braves defeated the Miami Marlins 2-1 to clinch a fifth-consecutive divisional crown.
That means the Mets will be hosting the best-of-three NL Wild Card Series beginning Friday against either the San Diego Padres or Philadelphia Phillies.
“I’m very proud of the guys today,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We knew it was a long shot. Now we get ready for Friday.”
Against Nationals starter Paolo Espino, the Mets put the game away at the jump when they went back-to-back-to-back for the first time in franchise history.
Nimmo’s home run was the second of his monster night. He homered in the first game of the doubleheader while going 6-for-8 between the two games. In Game 2, he went 3-for-3 with a double to go with that round-tripper.
Lindor and McNeil followed with blasts of their own, but the Mets kept the pedal down. Mark Canha’s sac fly drove in a fourth before Luis Guillorme doubled home two more to make it 6-0.
Nimmo put a cherry on top of the huge frame with a run-scoring single.
Taijuan Walker thrived with such run support, going 4.1 scoreless innings and allowing four hits with 10 strikeouts in his last audition to prove that he could potentially be a No. 4 starter in a postseason rotation.
Upon the news coming down of the Braves clinching the division with one out in the fourth, though, Showalter pulled him to conserve his arm for the postseason.
“He was sharp,” Showalter said. “It was tough to take him out tonight but we want to make sure he’s an option for us [in the postseason].”
The manager followed suit with the rest of his lineup, subbing out half of his starters, including Nimmo, Lindor, and Pete Alonso.
One of those subs was Alvarez, who led off the sixth inning with his first-career home run in his first-ever at-bat in Citi Field following his call-up for that pivotal series in Atlanta. On a 2-2 count, Nationals reliever Carl Edwards Jr. hung a curveball, which allowed the 20-year-old and MLB’s top overall prospect to launch a no-doubter into the left-field seats.
“I’ve seen it before but most of it has been on tape,” Showalter said. “He’s handled himself well… Breaking ball, too. That’s good to see.”