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Jeff McNeil’s clutch home run helps Mets avoid sweep

Jeff McNeil's clutch home run helps Mets avoid sweep

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Jeff McNeil rounds bases after HR vs. Phillies

Jeff McNeil rounds bases after HR vs. Phillies

Coming into Sunday’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets were riding a five-game losing streak.

The Mets have been trying to claw their way back up the NL East standings for the last few weeks — they have a bigger hill to climb for the second NL Wild Card spot, so winning the division is the only realistic option if the Mets want to make the playoffs.

Down 2-0 halfway through Sunday’s game, it looked like the Mets were on their way to getting swept.

But a fifth inning rally — led by Jeff McNeil, Tomas Nido and finally Dominic Smith — tied the game up and breathed some life back into the Citi Field seats.

McNeil’s night wasn’t done there, though, as the four-year vet — who’s been struggling at the plate as of late this season — hit a tie-breaking home run in the seventh that would prove to be the game-winner.

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“I was looking for something I could drive,” McNeil said after the game. “… I was looking for something I could kind of get elevated and up in the air.

“It’s nice to see him swing the bat like he did tonight,” Luis Rojas said. “That’s Jeff. That’s Jeff McNeil. Driving the ball, being able to cover a lot of the zone and pulling the ball. … He’s so talented with the bat. … the guy we saw tonight, that’s the Jeff we know.”

The Mets are 5.5 games back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves and get to face them in the final three games of the season, so trimming the lead down over the next nine games is something that could give them a chance the final weekend of the season.

“We’ve got to play some good baseball. We’re playing some good teams coming up, so we’ve got to go out there, play hard, play well and hopefully some other teams can help us out and we can have a shot that last weekend,” McNeil added.

The Mets play the Red Sox twice in Boston this week before traveling to Milwaukee this weekend for a three-game series with the Brewers. Then they’ll host the Miami Marlins for four games before heading down to Atlanta.

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