Major League Baseball

Francisco Lindor takes Mets on a wild ride, but winning cures all in New York

May 9

Everything is bigger when it happens in New York. Throw in a possible clash between baseball teammates, as well as a crazy story about wild animals in the stadium, and you’ve got something to talk about.

Oh, and did we mention the team in question is … winning?

That’s what happened on Friday night at Citi Field, where the New York Mets were taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In the seventh inning, Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil and shortstop Francisco Lindor had a miscommunication over defensive positioning. That disagreement appeared to escalate after the inning when some players suddenly rushed into the tunnel behind the dugout.

In the bottom of the inning, however, Lindor smashed a two-run home run to tie the score, and the Mets would ultimately win the game in 10 innings.

That probably would have been the end of it, except Lindor made an odd choice when asked after the game about what happened in the tunnel.

"It was funny," he said. "I told (McNeil) that I’d never seen a New York rat. So went down sprinting. I wanted to see a New York rat. And he’s like, ‘No, it’s not a rat. It’s a raccoon.’ I was like, ‘Hell no! It’s a damn rat. It’s a New York rat.’"

And Lindor stuck to his story as the questions kept coming.

This led to all sorts of fun on social media, as nobody took Lindor, who was clearly joking around, seriously.

The whole thing, however, did not make Mets acting general manager Zack Scott happy.

"You'd have to ask the players why they chose to handle it that way," Scott said Saturday. "Not how I'd go [about it]. I think what's unfortunate is it's a little bit of a bigger story than it needs to be, and it takes away from one of our best wins of the year. That was a great win last night."

Fortunately for the Mets, they won again on Saturday, as McNeil hit a two-run homer in a 4-2 victory over the D-backs.

And Lindor played his part, too, going 2-for-3 and making a dazzling dash around the bases after stealing a base.

The victory lifted the Mets to a 15-13 record and moved them into first place in the NL East by percentage points over the Philadelphia Phillies (18-16), who lost to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.

After the game, when McNeil sat down to speak with the media, he was interrupted by Lindor, who gave him a hug, turned to the camera and said he had decided the mysterious animal was in fact a "ratcoon."

So it appears all is well in Queens. The Mets are winning, and McNeil and Lindor are getting along fine.

"Today, we're a better ballclub, and we're a better family," Mets manager Luis Rojas said on Saturday. "That's how I see the events that happened (Friday), just after talking to both players and talking to the group."

Perhaps Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard put it best.

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