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Rains part, Mets' struggling offense scores 14 to back fixed Jacob deGrom

New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores, right, is

New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores, right, is greeted by starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, second baseman Daniel Murphy and catcher Kevin Plawecki after Flores hits them home on a grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers during a baseball game at Citi Field on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The skies opened up above Citi Field on Saturday night, and soon enough, the hits fell like rain drops. The drought was over. The Mets exhaled.

During a season-worst five-game losing streak, their bats had gone cold and their confidence waned. But as they piled on against the Brewers in a 14-1 victory Saturday night, the rain brought forth catharsis.

The Mets unleashed a week's worth of frustration in the fourth inning, an outburst that featured a grand slam by embattled shortstop Wilmer Flores, two hits by pitcher Jacob deGrom, and 10 runs and nine hits from a lineup that had just been shut out.

The Mets scored 10 runs in their previous five games. Saturday night, they needed just 32 minutes in the fourth inning to match that total. "Sooner or later, the balls are going to start falling in," manager Terry Collins said before the game.

The Mets sent 15 men to the plate in just the fourth double-digit run-scoring inning in franchise history and the first since 2006.

Later, the Mets got homers from Kevin Plawecki and Curtis Granderson, equaling their Citi Field record with 14 runs, last accomplished during a 2010 blowout of the Tigers.

After more than two weeks of everything going wrong for the Mets, most everything went right, from a lineup that awoke from its slumber to an emerging ace who rediscovered his command. Even the weather cooperated. After the Mets' fourth-inning explosion, the rain let up enough to eliminate the threat of a stoppage.

DeGrom, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, had worked with pitching coach Dan Warthen to identify flaws in his mechanics. It was a simple issue. The righthander was bringing his arm too far back in his delivery, which wrecked his timing.

Warthen thought the bad habit stemmed from trying to overthrow. Perhaps deGrom was trying too hard to live up to his billing as an emerging ace.

"He's put a little more burden on himself than he needs to," Warthen said. "He was getting long, his arm was getting too far in back of him and he was landing too soon and he wasn't able to get his arm in the right position."

Those issues disappeared against the Brewers.

In six innings, deGrom allowed just one run and five hits. While improving to 4-4, deGrom struck out six and walked just one.

However, the night belonged to the offense, and that included deGrom, who finished with a career-high three hits.

It was deGrom who gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second by bouncing an RBI single through a drawn-in infield in the second. And in the fourth, he became the first big-league pitcher to collect two hits in one inning since the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright in 2013.

From the practical to the superstitious, the Mets had tried nearly everything to reverse their five-game skid.

On Friday, manager Terry Collins sent third-base coach and designated streak-breaker Tim Teufel onto the field to take out the lineup card. What followed the move was an error by Flores, an injury to second baseman Dilson Herrera and a 7-0 loss to the Brewers.

Saturday night, Collins made out a lineup that featured a new wrinkle. Despite entering the game with a team-high five homers, Collins batted Flores in the ninth spot behind deGrom, whose reputation as an above-average hitting pitcher got him into the eighth spot.

As the rain fell, and the Brewers' Matt Garza looked increasingly helpless, Collins' decision paid dividends.

Brewers shortstop Luis Sardinas sailed a throw to the plate that gave the Mets a run. With one out, deGrom followed with a single to load the bases.

Flores followed by hammering the Mets' first grand slam since last June. Later, Michael Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy ripped consecutive run-scoring doubles.

The drought gave way to a downpour. And in one inning, the Mets washed away a week's worth of bitterness.


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