Mets building team chemistry, just like Salt & Pepper

Mets building team chemistry, just like Salt & Pepper

MIAMI — Mickey’s magic Mets. The happiest baseball place on earth right now.

Mickey Callaway continues to push all the right buttons and on Wednesday night the Mets’ winning streak jumped to eight games as they blazed to the best 11-game start in franchise history, beating the Marlins 4-1 at Marlins Park to make a winner out of an impressive Zack Wheeler in his first start of the season.

Callaway’s Mets are 10-1 and the Five Aces are a reality thanks to the leadership of Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland.

The Mets were being no-hit for 6 ²/₃ innings before Todd Frazier lined a single to center off reliever Drew Steckenrider, who replaced starter Jarlin Garcia, who pitched six no-hit innings in his first major league start. Garcia was removed after a career-high 77 pitches by Don Mattingly.

Before the game, Frazier anxiously awaited a delivery of a new box of Salt & Pepper T-shirts that arrived about two hours before first pitch.

“I want to make sure everyone in the whole organization gets one,’’ Frazier said with a smile. “Got a new box, we’re good to go.’’

Owners, front office and even Jay Horwitz, vice president of media relations, can join the Salt & Pepper club, Frazier said.

Trailing 1-0, the Mets scored four times in the eighth. The rally began when catcher Kevin Plawecki was nailed with a 98 mph fastball in the left hand. Earlier in the day the Mets learned Travis d’Arnaud suffered a partially torn elbow ligament in his throwing arm, so Plawecki is the No. 1 catcher now.

Callaway has instituted a no-excuses, next-man up mentality that has worked wonders as the Mets completed the rare six-game road sweep, beating the Nationals in the cold and the Marlins in the South Florida heat, three games each.

In that eighth inning, Callaway sent Michael Conforto and Adrian Gonzalez up as pinch hitters and both came through in a big way against lefty Chris O’Grady.

Conforto ripped a double down the right-field line to send Plawecki to third with one out and then Gonzalez laced a two-run single up the middle as the Mets’ dugout roared in approval.

“I think what we are going to see throughout the season is when we are down, we know how to get the job done, we’re never going to give up,’’ Callaway said of the Mets’ comeback ability. This was their sixth comeback win already.

“It’s been something else,’’ Callaway said, noting all the players are engaged in the game from the first pitch to the last.

“You can really feel the energy in the dugout. One of the things that has been really special about this team is every player is in the dugout the whole game. You don’t see that often. Everybody is present on the bench and they kind of feed off each other. We like them to be in the dugout but they made that choice in spring training and they’ve just carried it into the season.’’

As for getting pinch hits from Conforto, coming back from shoulder surgery, and Gonzalez, back-to-back, Callaway said, “It’s pretty good when you can play a game like that and have the quality hitters we have sitting on the bench. You just have to make sure they get to hit. I didn’t want to go through the game and lose a game without them getting to hit.’’

Noted Gonzalez, “That was a total team effort. We had confidence going into the season. It didn’t change the confidence that we already have. Obviously some people didn’t believe in us going into the year, it’s kind of changing in their eyes but we knew what we had.’’

The veteran lefty hitter marvels at the young lefty hitter Conforto, saying, “He’s got a great approach. Just a great base. Great hands and a lot of power. He does a great job of swinging at strikes so for a young hitter with the kinds of hands and power he has, if he continues to swing at strikes he’s going to have success.’’

Callaway’s 10-1 Mets have figured out how to have success the best way, as a team.

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