Cespedes' walk-off HR lifts Mets over Marlins

Cespedes' walk-off HR lifts Mets over Marlins

NEW YORK -- The National League Wild Card race is a tangled knot five teams deep, each of them enduring their share of issues. It's all the Mets can do these days, for example, to put a healthy team on the field. And no one embodies all that more than Yoenis Cespedes.

Battling through what has become a chronic leg injury, Cespedes hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning Monday at Citi Field, leading the Mets to a 2-1 win over the Marlins that also evened the two teams in the Wild Card standings. Both clubs still trail the Giants, Cardinals and Pirates, each sitting 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moment never too big for clutch Cespedes

Moment never too big for clutch Cespedes

NEW YORK -- Even as he centered himself in the dogpile at home plate, gum and sunflower seeds flying around him, Jose Reyes cautioned Yoenis Cespedes to dampen his celebration. This was a night worthy of a party, to be certain. But the Mets remained all too aware of both Cespedes' nagging injuries and their dependence on him over the next month. It is impossible to consider one without the other.

Still, there are ways to celebrate in safety. So as Cespedes walked over to conduct a television interview, answering questions about his walk-off homer in the 10th inning of a 2-1 win over the Marlins, Reyes grabbed an empty chewing gum canister and thunked it on top of Cespedes' head.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero displays mettle in high-wire act

Montero displays mettle in high-wire act

NEW YORK -- As Rafael Montero took the Citi Field mound Monday night, a picture of his face appeared on the right-field scoreboard, a reminder for Mets fans who hadn't seen the right-hander since April. That wasn't all. Montero's ERA from that brief stint shone in white, bold numerals: 11.57.

By the end of the Mets' 2-1 victory over the Marlins, Montero's ERA had dropped to 3.68. It wasn't a perfect comeback performance, as the 25-year-old issued six walks. But he worked through the free passes and exited having thrown five shutout innings, earning the praise of teammates and manager Terry Collins in the process.

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Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dinged up Cabrera, Walker both day to day

Dinged up Cabrera, Walker both day to day

NEW YORK -- The Mets' inability to keep a full, healthy lineup on the field rolled into another week Monday, as they opened a critical four-game series against the Marlins without either half of their starting middle infield.

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera struggled through agility tests on his sore left knee, which has affected him for the better part of this season. Between flareups of that knee injury, Cabrera batted .455 with three home runs and nine RBIs in nine games, earning National League Player of the Week honors. But he will not return to the starting lineup until at least Tuesday.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecchini among top prospect performers Monday

Giants' No. 2 prospect allows two hits, fans 11 in shutout for Squirrels

Cecchini among top prospect performers Monday

Tyler Beede needed just 94 pitches, 70 strikes, to spin his first shutout.

The Giants' No. 2 prospect led Double-A Richmond to a 4-0 win over Hartford on Monday, notching his first double-digit strikeout game of the season along the way.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cabrera earns NL Player of Week nod

Shortstop comes off DL to hit three homers, but ends week with injury

Cabrera earns NL Player of Week nod

Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list with a performance that earned him National League Player of the Week honors.

The Mets shortstop hit an NL-best .545 (12-for-22) this week, with three home runs, eight RBIs and a .583 on-base percentage. His 25 total bases and 1.136 slugging percentage last week led the NL.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marlins, Mets looking for leg up in Wild Card race

Marlins, Mets looking for leg up in Wild Card race

The Mets and Marlins will be back in action at Citi Field for the second of a four-game set Tuesday following Monday's thriller, in which Yoenis Cespedes hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning. After the mighty swing helped New York draw even with Miami in the National League Wild Card race -- both teams trail the Giants, Cardinals and Pirates -- the clubs will roll out starting pitchers with dissimilar levels of experience for the next chapter of this pivotal set.

Right-hander Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.85 ERA) is a five-year veteran, having pitched against the Mets 19 times. Seth Lugo has all of two big league starts on his resume, but he'll try to help the Mets down one of their primary competitors in the Wild Card race.

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Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets' bats go cold as Phils erupt late

Mets' bats go cold as Phils erupt late

NEW YORK -- In his debut with the Phillies, catcher A.J. Ellis broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double, highlighting a four-run frame in a 5-1 victory over the Mets on Sunday at Citi Field.

Through six innings, Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman's first Major League start had gone swimmingly, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out five. Then came the seventh.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matz expected to start Thursday for Mets

Lefty to throw one more bullpen session before being activated from DL

Matz expected to start Thursday for Mets

NEW YORK -- Steven Matz threw a bullpen session before the Mets' 5-1 loss to the Phillies on Sunday, and while manager Terry Collins said the left-hander looked "fine," the Mets have decided to have him throw one more time before activating him from the disabled list.

If everything goes well, Matz is expected to start Thursday against the Marlins at Citi Field.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gsellman, Mets endure one rough frame

Righty solid in first start until Phils' four-run seventh

Gsellman, Mets endure one rough frame

NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson raised his arms to his sides in confusion, shooting a quick glance to Alejandro De Aza. Where was the ball?

With his sunglasses flipped up, the Mets' left fielder fought to see through the sunny glare at Citi Field, but eventually settled under the pop fly off the bat of the Phillies' Cesar Hernandez, avoiding a potential embarrassment in an already unsettling seventh inning for the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.

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Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard (the horse) now an early Derby favorite

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Syndergaard (the horse) now an early Derby favorite

Noah Syndergaard owns a slider harder than most people's fastballs, and throws so hard he can literally brand a human being. Now, though, he might not even be the fastest Syndergaard on the East Coast: After winning the first race of his young career earlier this month, the horse named Noah Syndergaard took the Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga this weekend -- by eight full lenghts. 

Not only was the purse a cool $200,000, but according to the New York Times, the equine Syndergaard is now the early favorite to win next year's Kentucky Derby. And, in accordance with the rule that real must recognize real, the actual Thor took notice.

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Cespedes, slam lead Mets' rout of Phillies

Cespedes, slam lead Mets' rout of Phillies

NEW YORK -- He had sent Citi Field into delirium once more, and Yoenis Cespedes wanted to show the 35,832 fans his appreciation. Jogging back to the dugout in the fourth inning of the Mets' 12-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday night, his 26th homer of the year in the seats, Cespedes raised both hands to his lips and blew the Mets faithful a kiss.

Queens has fallen in love with Yoenis Cespedes over the past 13 months, and with his three-run laser Saturday night, Cespedes set the wheels in motion for another Mets onslaught of the Phillies.

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Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson's slam breaks Citi Field HR record

Pinch-hit, bases-loaded dinger was one of four Mets homers in rout of Phils

Johnson's slam breaks Citi Field HR record

NEW YORK -- The vibe around the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes said, is starting to feel a lot like it did the last two months of 2015. There are a few reasons: Desire. Motivation. An unwillingness to give up.

The Cuban slugger might be right, but the Mets are also borrowing a formula from last season: Hitting home runs in bunches. In fact, they set a franchise record last season by hitting 85 homers at Citi Field. This year's team smashed that mark Saturday in a 12-1 win over the Phillies. With 18 games to spare, they've already hit 87 dingers.

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Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lightning the load: Thor, Mets turning corner

Syndergaard posts second straight two-hit outing in win vs. Phillies

Lightning the load: Thor, Mets turning corner

NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard didn't have much time to react. After doubling earlier in the fourth inning, he took a lead off third base and watched as Yoenis Cespedes smoked a 104.2-mph line drive foul down the left-field line. Disaster wasn't as close as it seemed, but all Syndergaard could think of was self-preservation as his 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame staggered a bit before dropping to the grass.

"That was just all reflex," Syndergaard said. "I don't think it was really anywhere near me, but it was coming in fast. I don't know how unathletic I looked there, but I was just trying to hit the deck."

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero to start Monday in place of deGrom

Montero to start Monday in place of deGrom

NEW YORK -- Rafael Montero, who was scratched from his scheduled start for Double-A Binghamton on Saturday, will be recalled to start Monday's series opener against the Marlins in place of Jacob deGrom, the Mets announced.

Montero, who allowed three runs over 2 1/3 innings of relief in his previous stint with the Mets in April, struggled mightily in Triple-A this season, posting a 4-6 record with a 7.20 ERA in 16 starts that led to a reassignment to Binghamton on July 14. Since that move, though, the right-hander has performed well, going 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA while holding opponents to a .195 batting average in eight starts.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecchini among top prospect performers Saturday

Top Red Sox pitcher impresses in second start; Twins' No. 3 continues hot streak

Cecchini among top prospect performers Saturday

It hasn't taken Jason Groome long to reward the Red Sox for rolling the dice on him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

Making his second professional start on Saturday, Groome, No. 35 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, allowed one earned run and struck out five of the nine hitters he faced in two innings for Boston's Gulf Coast League affiliate in a contest against the Twins'.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bruce gets 'mental day'; Ruggiano to DL

Slumping right fielder out of starting lineup following 4-strikeout game

Bruce gets 'mental day'; Ruggiano to DL

NEW YORK -- Jay Bruce felt his balky right calf flare up on Friday, but the Mets were far more concerned with where the right fielder was mentally. On a day where the club scored nine runs on 11 hits to take the first game of a three-game series against the Phillies at Citi Field, Bruce went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.

After fanning on a 94-mph two-seam fastball from Philadelphia reliever Frank Herrmann in the seventh inning, Bruce walked toward the Mets' dugout to a chorus of boos, a song that has been orchestrated with more and more frequency over the last couple of weeks. Since being acquired from the Reds at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the 29-year-old has hit .160/.244/.272 with two home runs and six RBIs in 22 games.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Four-es: Wilmer's slam among Mets' 4 HRs in win

Four-es: Wilmer's slam among Mets' 4 HRs in win

NEW YORK -- In need of another storybook run as they look to scale the National League Wild Card standings, the Mets on Friday turned to a player best known for his flair for the dramatic. Wilmer Flores slugged his third career grand slam, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes combined for three additional homers and Bartolo Colon cruised, leading the Mets to a 9-4 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

The Mets remained 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, who also won, in an NL Wild Card race with five serious competitors.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins: Colon has kept Mets in playoff race

Ageless right-hander collects two hits, earns win in opener vs. Phillies

Collins: Colon has kept Mets in playoff race

NEW YORK -- On a day when the Mets announced that they will skip Jacob deGrom's next start because of mechanical issues, Mets manager Terry Collins couldn't provide enough praise for Friday's starter Bartolo Colon, the lone pitcher in New York's rotation who hasn't dealt with any sort of lingering issue this season.

"I can't come up with a name of a guy who we could have had that has done a better job," Collins said before the Mets' 9-4 victory over the Phillies at Citi Field. "Not only has he been the healthiest of the bunch, but he's won big games for us -- a lot of big games for us.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blond bombshells make history with homers

Reyes, Cabrera become 2nd Mets duo to hit back-to-back dingers to open game; Asdrubal adds 2nd HR

Blond bombshells make history with homers

NEW YORK -- The play that did not show up in either the box score or the record books unfolded in the eighth inning Friday, with the Mets' 9-4 win over the Phillies already largely in hand.

Maikel Franco squirted a ground ball down the third-base line, where Jose Reyes attempted, unsuccessfully, to barehand it. As all of this was happening, Asdrubal Cabrera raced over from shortstop, positioning himself to grab the ball, dive toward third base and force out Aaron Altherr advancing from second.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets decide to skip deGrom's next start

New York feels ace right-hander's issues are mechanical

Mets decide to skip deGrom's next start

NEW YORK -- Concerned about Jacob deGrom's consecutive poor starts, the Mets spent this week digging into the Trackman technology available to them at ballparks around the country, hoping to spot the root cause of their ace's struggles. Coming away convinced that deGrom's issues are mechanical, not health-related, the team will spend the next 10 days attempting to fix them.

As such, deGrom will miss his next start in an attempt to rediscover the form that made him a National League Cy Young candidate as recently as mid-August.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colon celebrates double with massage

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Colon celebrates double with massage

Bartolo Colon is unlike any other player in sports. He's an over-40, mid-80s fastball-hurling, dinger-hitting wonder of the modern world. And while he is seemingly getting better at baseball at a time when most players are making their way up the managerial ranks, he's keeping his career options open. 

Taking on the Phillies during a 9-4 victory on Friday night, not only did Colon pick up his first two-hit game since 2002 (only 34 other active Major Leaguers were even in the big leagues then, and two of them, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, are retiring this year), he also showed off his plans for when he does retire: Professional masseuse. 

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Walker returns from paternity list; T. Rivera optioned

Second baseman looks to resume hot streak after birth of daughter, Nora

Walker returns from paternity list; T. Rivera optioned

NEW YORK -- Neil Walker hasn't had much sleep over the last three days, but he wouldn't trade those restless days for anything. Over that time, Walker has been on Major League Baseball's paternity list as his wife and he welcomed their first child, Nora Vail Walker, into the world at 3:06 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The last three days have been dedicated to his newborn baby girl, but on Friday he returned to the baseball diamond. He was activated off the paternity list before New York's series opener against the Phillies at Citi Field and batted fourth in the Mets' lineup.

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Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

De Aza's 5 RBIs help lead Mets to series win

De Aza's 5 RBIs help lead Mets to series win

ST. LOUIS -- A stay in St. Louis did the Mets well, as they left town following Thursday night's 10-6 victory in better National League Wild Card position than when they arrived. Capping an evening in which Seth Lugo secured his first Major League win and the offense piled on by taking advantage of a shoddy Cardinals defense, the Mets won the series and moved to within 3 1/2 games of St. Louis in the Wild Card standings.

"This was a tough series," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They've got a good team. We came into the series knowing we had to pick up some ground, and we picked up a game. That means a lot."

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lugo exits with cramp, but gets 1st MLB win

Mets right-hander leaves stellar start in 6th during warmup pitches

Lugo exits with cramp, but gets 1st MLB win

ST. LOUIS -- After rookie starter Seth Lugo left the mound in the sixth inning of the Mets' 10-6 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night, manager Terry Collins lingered. As he waited for Jim Henderson to jog in from the bullpen, another reliever pressed into emergency duty, Collins remarked to his infielders that "every time I turn around, something unexpected pops up."

This time, at least, the Mets avoided the worst; Lugo was the victim of nothing more than leg cramps, which should not prevent him from making his next start. Consider it fine news for a Mets team that is suddenly leaning on Lugo, with so much of the rest of its rotation nursing injuries.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

De Aza pushing for playing time with bat

Outfielder logs career-high 5 RBIs in rubber-game win over Cardinals

De Aza pushing for playing time with bat

ST. LOUIS -- From the months of April through June, as Mets fans busied themselves booing him and calling for his release, Alejandro De Aza compiled a total of five RBIs.

That De Aza matched that output alone in the Mets' 10-6 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night was more than affirmation of how far he's come. It was perhaps a cry for increased playing time in a tightened postseason race, particularly given teammate Curtis Granderson's struggles.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After review, Waino loses glove, Yo gets base

De Aza later hits 3-run homer in 5th as Mets win rubber game

After review, Waino loses glove, Yo gets base

ST. LOUIS -- With one out in the fifth inning on Thursday night, Mets first baseman James Loney popped a ball into short left field that landed just out of the reach of Greg Garcia. The ensuing play at third led to a replay review that opened the floodgates to a four-run inning that propelled the Mets to a 10-6 win over the Cardinals in the rubber game.

Yoenis Cespedes, on first base, saw the ball drop and headed to third while Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright ran over to cover the base, which was vacated by Jhonny Peralta as he also tried to make the catch.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bruce doesn't expect right calf issue to linger

Bruce doesn't expect right calf issue to linger

ST. LOUIS -- Though Mets outfielder Jay Bruce did not feel well enough to return to the starting lineup on Thursday against the Cardinals, as he originally intended after leaving Wednesday night's game with a right calf cramp, he does not expect the issue to linger. Bruce simply pushed his targeted return back one day, to Friday.

"I feel better," Bruce said before the series finale at Busch Stadium. "The soreness is out of there some, but the tightness is still there when I push off. I was shooting for today. Now, I'm shooting for tomorrow. It's not going to be something that lingers, I don't think."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.