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Mets sweep Cubs for first pennant since 2000

The New York Mets celebrate their NLCS victory

The New York Mets celebrate their NLCS victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

It was quick. It was powerful. It was ruthless. And for these Mets, it all seemed so fitting.

At some point amid the trades gone bad, the tears on the infield, the suspensions, the cold streaks, and then the second-half renaissance, the Mets underwent a metamorphosis. They became bullies.

So, this was the persona they adopted in a four-game sweep of the Cubs in the National League Championship Series, a show of dominance made official with Wednesday night's 8-3 victory. For the first time in 15 years, the Mets have the pennant.

They are going to the World Series.

Midseason deals for Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson helped turn the Mets around.

"Tremendously rewarding,'' general manager Sandy Alderson said. "Just thankful management allowed us to do it.''

Lucas Duda thawed from his October cold streak, tying a postseason club record with five RBIs. They came on a three-run homer in the first, followed by a two-run double in the second to give the Mets a 6-0 lead. Travis d'Arnaud added a solo shot in the first.

Daniel Murphy, the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, lashed four hits, including a two-run shot in the eighth that sent the chill of winter through the Friendly Confines. He crossed the plate, raised his hand to the sky, then lost himself in a sea of teammates in the dugout.

The Mets' breakout star hit .529 (9-for-17 with four homers). He has homered seven times in the postseason, and in six straight playoff games, the first ever to accomplish the feat.

Long Island's Steven Matz worked 42/3 innings, forced to work out of trouble in the fourth and then again in the fifth, before he was pulled for Bartolo Colon. But with a big lead, he was good enough to hold the Cubs to one run, capping a brilliant run for the Mets' stable of young arms.

In banishing the Cubs to their 107th consecutive season without a championship, Mets pitching held one of baseball's most explosive offenses to eight runs in four games. Meanwhile, the Mets set a franchise record with 14 homers, eclipsing the 12 by the 1969 world championship team.

After needing a heart-stopping Game 5 win to get past the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Mets made it look easy in the NLCS.

The only downer of the night came in the second inning when Cespedes left the game with what the team called a sore left shoulder. The severity of the injury is unknown. But the sweep will provide a useful buffer until the start of the World Series on Tuesday on the road against the Royals or Blue Jays.

Cespedes said his shoulder will be ready for the World Series. "If not,'' he said, "I'll chop it off and put a new one on.''

Within the clubhouse, the Mets refused to treat Game 4 as a given. They remained wary of the consequences, however unlikely, of letting up.

By the end of the second inning, Wrigley Field had gone from an autumn carnival to a sullen wake. Jason Hammel walked off the field to boos after 11/3 innings, chased by a Mets offense that pounced early and often.

Duda delivered the first blow, launching his three-run shot just left of straightaway centerfield, plunking the roof of the batter's eye. Before the crowd of 44,227 could settle in, d'Arnaud ripped a solo shot the opposite way to rightfield. For the first time since the 1988 NLCS, the Mets hit back-to-back homers in the postseason.

In the second, against lefty Travis Wood, Duda came through again. With runners on first and second, he hammered a double that rolled into the gap in right-center, driving in two.

Amid the champagne-soaked celebration, Terry Collins reflected on managing the mix of veterans and young players.

"I tried to do my best and just stay out of the way.''


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