MILWAUKEE – Francisco Lindor spent much of Tuesday’s pregame on the clubhouse couch huddled under a blanket, resembling somebody who might have celebrated too much the previous night.
But the star shortstop was wide awake and full of energy when the Mets needed him most.
Lindor smashed a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning that helped deliver the Mets a sixth straight victory, 7-5 over the Brewers at American Family Field. The Mets remained one game ahead of Atlanta for first place in the NL East, a night after clinching the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2016 and acknowledging the accomplishment with a champagne toast.
“We’re in a fight and [clinching the postseason] is not the end goal, ”Lindor said. “We have short-term goals and long-term goals and we have got to come out every day and do our best.”
Lindor’s slam came after lefty Taylor Rogers walked the bases loaded in the seventh. An inning earlier Pete Alonso mashed a three-run homer that put life into a Mets lineup that managed only one hit through five innings. Overall, the Mets had only four hits.
The Mets will attempt to complete a series sweep on Wednesday with Taijuan Walker on the mound. The Brewers are fighting for a National League wild-card berth, but haven’t received any favors from the Mets, who are embroiled in their own battle, even after locking up a postseason berth.
“The Braves have been on our tail for a while now, so it’s still on our minds,” Brandon Nimmo said. “We let ourselves enjoy the fact [Monday] that we are definitely in the playoffs and now it’s back to what we were doing. ”
Nimmo is well aware that the Braves play a four-game series in Philadelphia beginning Thursday against a team with wild-card aspirations.
“Part of it is, yeah, it would be nice if [the Braves] lost a few, but part of it is you have to acknowledge they are playing real well and having a historic run since [June 1], ”Nimmo said. “But to still be in first place and be where we are at means we have a pretty good team as well.”
Carlos Carrasco barely survived a second inning in which he allowed five base runners and managed to get through the fourth. Overall, the right-hander allowed three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks over 90 pitches.
Kolten Wong and Andrew McCutchen delivered consecutive doubles in the second that gave the Brewers their first run. Omar Narvaez and Willy Adames each contributed an RBI single later in the inning to place the Mets in a 3-0 hole.
Trevor Williams replaced Carrasco in the fifth and surrendered a leadoff double to Adames before Wong’s RBI single extended the Brewers’ lead to 4-0. Carrasco’s start was his third of him in his last five in which he failed to complete five innings. But it followed two strong outings, against the Marlins and Pirates, in which he allowed one run over six innings.
The Mets, facing their fourth pitcher of the night – Aaron Ashby was utilized as an opener – struck in the sixth with Alonso’s three-run homer against Brad Boxberger. The blast was the second in as many games for Alonso and gave him 37 for the season, along with 121 RBIs.
Mark Canha was plunked by a pitch (the 103rd time this season the Mets have been hit, two short of the modern-day record) and Lindor singled before Alonso cleared the center-field fence.
“What really changed the momentum was [Lindor] and Mark putting together really good at-bats and getting on, ”Alonso said. “That kind of set the tone for that inning. I am just really pleased that I could capitalize on a slider in the middle of the plate in that inning. The boys did a hell of a job after that stringing at-bats together and [Lindor] came up clutch. ”
In the seventh, Darin Ruf, James McCann and Nimmo walked in succession against Rogers before Canha struck out. But Lindor sent a towering drive over the left-field fence to give the Mets a 7-4 lead.
“That was really fun,” Alonso said. “I know we didn’t have a lot of hits, but grinding out, getting on base by walks or getting hit by pitch, we did a really good job as an offense tonight.”