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Mets’ offense finally breaks out in Michael Conforto’s return

The band got closer to reuniting Wednesday night, bringing with it the aura of a competent Mets lineup. There was Michael Conforto, back in the No. 3 hole and playing right field after a five-week...

The band got closer to reuniting Wednesday night, bringing with it the aura of a competent Mets lineup.

There was Michael Conforto, back in the No. 3 hole and playing right field after a five-week absence. Jeff McNeil sat atop the lineup, in his third game since returning from the injured list.

Conforto and McNeil each reached base three times and Francisco Lindor delivered an early home run, helping the Mets end a two-game skid with a 7-3 victory over the Braves at Citi Field.

“I’m glad to have them back,” 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.”

For a team that had been shut out in consecutive games — and four times within the week — the Mets had an easy night against Kyle Wright and the Braves bullpen. That, coupled with a solid performance from Tylor Megill in his major league debut and respectable relief outing from Corey Oswalt, allowed the Mets to win for the 16th time in their last 21 home games.

Edwin Diaz was summoned for a five-out save and responded, entering in the eighth with two runners on base and retired Pablo Sandoval and Ender Inciarte before working a scoreless ninth. Manager Luis Rojas said the only other relievers available in his exhausted bullpen, on an emergency basis, were Seth Lugo and Drew Smith.

Michael Confroto celebrates with teammates after scoring on Dominic Smith’s RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning of the Mets’ 7-3 win over the Braves.
Robert Sabo

Conforto and McNeil are just two of the pieces on which the Mets are relying to become whole. Another, Brandon Nimmo, began a rehab assignment last weekend for Triple-A Syracuse. Still on the horizon is J.D. Davis, who also has been absent from the Mets lineup since early May.

“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.”

The Mets erupted for five runs in the first two innings against Wright after scoring only four in their previous three games combined.

Lindor sprinted home from third base in the first on a wild pitch to snap a 17-inning scoreless streak since Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader. Lindor walked and took third on Conforto’s double — a 110 mph scorcher to right field — in his first at-bat off the injured list. Conforto scored the Mets’ second run on Dominic Smith’s RBI fielder’s choice.

“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.”

Lindor smashed a three-run homer in the second, after McNeil had kept the inning alive with a two-out single. The homer was the ninth of the season for Lindor, who blasted two in the first game of a doubleheader in Washington on Saturday. Luis Guillorme began the rally with a double that just missed clearing the fence in left-center.

Megill took a shutout into the fifth, but couldn’t get through the inning. After walking Ehire Adrianza leading off the frame, Megill surrendered a two-run homer to Inciarte that pulled the Braves within 5-2. After walking the next batter, reliever Josh Tomlin, he was removed.

Over 92 pitches, the right-hander allowed two earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The 25-year-old Megill, an eighth-round pick in the 2018 draft, was 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts between Double-A Binghamton and Syracuse.

“I got the opportunity and I wanted to go out there full force and make a statement and help the team win,” Megill said.

Megill’s presence was needed in a week the Mets played a doubleheader Saturday in Washington and another Monday on Citi Field. They will play their third doubleheader of the week on Friday, against the Phillies.

“I was impressed with his poise,” Rojas said.

Oswalt, selected from Syracuse before the game to give the Mets bullpen a fresh arm, gave the Mets 2 ¹/₃ innings and allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk. Miguel Castro allowed two runners to reach base after replacing Megill in the fifth, but escaped without further damage.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Mike Puma

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