NEW YORK – Thousands of Mets fans chanted David Wright’s name as he wrapped up an on-field interview and headed back toward the sloshy clubhouse. He paused to wave and soak in the moment.

The team captain wasn’t sure he’d ever do this again, not with that last playoff appearance nine years ago. Finally, the wait was over.

As Wright’s champagne-and-beer-soaked shirt proclaimed: “The East Is Ours.”

The Mets are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 after clinching their sixth NL East title on Saturday with a 10-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Lucas Duda hit a grand slam in the first inning, and Wright put the final touches on it with a three-run homer in the ninth.

“You just can’t help but smile,” said Wright, who was part of the 2006 team that reached the NL championship series. “For the last few months, I’ve tried to enjoy this as much as possible, soak this in. This is a surreal feeling.”

Surreal and fitting, too.

Matt Harvey (13-7) was most appropriate to pitch the clincher. He was the NL’s starter for the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field, but needed Tommy John surgery that October and missed all of the 2014 season. Harvey gave up a pair of runs in 6⅔ innings.

And there was Wright, capping it off after returning from a back injury in late August.

“It’s been a long time,” Wright said. “Too long.”

After two September collapses, the Bernie Madoff financial scandal and nine years of frustration, thousands of blue-clad NY fans along for the trip chanted “Let’s go Mets!” from Duda’s first swing — his first career grand slam — until the team returned to the field following a champagne celebration to high-five their supporters.

The players wore hats with “Postseason” written across the crown. New York will likely face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series.

“This is step one,” said Jeff Wilpon, the club’s chief operating officer. “Let’s get going.”

Pirates 4, Cubs 0

In Chicago, Francisco Liriano pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning, and Pittsburgh beat the playoff-bound Cubs for its eighth straight victory.

Nationals 2, Phillies 1 (12)

In Washington, a season that started with so many soaring expectations for the Nationals crashed with a dreary thud when they were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention despite winning on Bryce Harper’s RBI double.

Rockies 8, Dodgers 6

In Denver, Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, preventing Los Angeles from moving closer to clinching the NL West title.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 1

In St. Louis, Jaime Garcia worked eight dominant innings after getting a big early cushion.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 0

In San Diego, Robbie Erlin pitched two-hit ball for seven innings.

Marlins 6, Braves 2

In Miami, Justin Bour hit a two-run homer, and Justin Nicolino pitched seven solid innings for the Marlins.

Ichiro Suzuki entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth and laid down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom half of the frame.

Article Source : The Japan Times » Sports category » Baseball
Image Source : Google Image

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