Juan Lagares had the biggest game of his major league career Thursday afternoon, when the longest-tenured member of the New York Mets homered twice and finished with six RBIs as the surging Mets completed a four-game sweep of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks with a 11-1 win.
The Mets (76-70) outscored the Diamondbacks (75-72) by a 20-1 margin in the final two games and 26-4 overall to leapfrog Arizona, which began the series 2 1/2 games ahead of New York, in the gaggle of National League teams pursuing a wild card.
The Mets began the day two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, who shared the second wild card. The Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 and the Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Thursday.
Lagares, who has been known mostly for his Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field since joining the Mets in 2013, capped a five-run third inning with his first career grand slam to give New York a 6-0 lead. All five runs were unearned due to a one-out error throwing error on Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed.
Lagares completed his first two-homer game in his next at-bat, when he hit a two-run shot to right field in the fifth inning. The homers were Lagares' first at Citi Field since Sept. 7, 2017. The six RBIs doubled his previous single-game career high, set 11 times previously.
He increased his season total to five homers.
Todd Frazier, who homered twice Wednesday, opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second inning Thursday. J.D. Davis had an RBI single in the third, and Robinson Cano (fifth inning), Tomas Nido (fifth inning) and Michael Conforto (seventh inning) all hit solo homers. The six homers were the most ever for the Mets in a home game.
Marcus Stroman (8-13) cruised to the win after allowing one run on four hits and four walks while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings.
Ildemaro Vargas ended the shutout with a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh.
Alex Young (7-4) took the loss after allowing six runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out three over 2 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media