That’s a bit more like the New York Mets everyone was expecting coming into 2021.
For the first time in over a month, both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil were in the Mets’ lineup together, getting on base three times apiece in a 7-3 victory that ensured a series split with the Atlanta Braves.
It was the first time in 15 games that the Mets scored seven runs or more and a promising development for a team that had been shut out in four of their previous eight games.
“I’m glad to have them back,” Mets star shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “Even though the other guys did an outstanding job filling in for them, having McNeil and Conforto is going to be huge for us.”
Lindor himself had a big night with two hits and an early home run — his third in seven games — as he continues to work his way out of the early-season doldrums.
“We’re a good team, but we’re not where we want to be yet and that is going to come,” Lindor said. “Once we have more consistency and all the pieces of the puzzle, it’s going to be great to put it together.”
But a sigh of relief came in Conforto’s first at-bat in 35 games after getting back from a hamstring injury — sending a double down the right-field line 110-mph off the bat on his way to a 2-for-4 night.
“It was good to jump right into the action and test the hamstring,” Conforto said. “I didn’t have any doubt about it, but nevertheless it was good to get a good solid run in and from there. Just stopped thinking about it and started thinking about playing the game.”
With the Mets still holding a lead in the disappointing NL East, getting its lineup back toward full strength will only help their chances of padding their place at the top.
“We were winning a lot of games. We had timely hitting from a lot of guys, but those are two important presence from a defensive standpoint,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “They can sequence Francisco and they can sequence with Alonso, who’s going to get his bat going at some point. You can feel it. So two big nights for McNeil and Conforto and it’s exciting.”