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Jose Iglesias fuels Mets offense with three-hit game

WASHINGTON — When Triple-A Syracuse manager Dick Scott’s voice crackled over the phone last Thursday night, Jose Iglesias responded with real emotion on the other end. Iglesias, an 11-year veteran infielder, had already played significant time in the Majors. But he hadn’t reached the highest level since 2022. At 34, it was natural for him to wonder if he would ever get there.

Then Scott called. Iglesias gushes. And for half a week, he has done almost everything possible to make the most of this rebirth. Starting with Jeff McNeil at second base against the Nationals, Iglesias finished 3-for-5 with the go-ahead RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base in the Mets’ 8-7 victory Monday night at Nationals Park. He is 5 for 11 since joining the Mets.

“He tells me every day he feels like a rookie,” third baseman Mark Vientos said. “That’s how excited he is.”

Vientos, another Met enjoying a new opportunity, added a solo homer and two runs scored, while Jake Diekman held on to convert the bullpen’s fourth save chance in his last 10 opportunities .

But it was Iglesias who put the Mets in this position initially, recording singles in each of his first three at-bats. In the second inning, Iglesias knocked back a 97 mph MacKenzie Gore fastball well above the strike zone, pulling it into right field for a base hit.

In the fourth, Iglesias took a reverse swing on another Gore fastball that hit the inside corner, knocking it to center. And in the fifth, Iglesias added his most impactful hit of all, pulling a Dylan Floro changeup into left field for an RBI single.

“That’s what he’s done throughout his career,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “He’s a guy who’s going to put the ball in play. He’s going to use the whole field. He’s going to be aggressive in the counts, and he got results today.

Iglesias’ final hit ended up being the difference in the game, giving the Mets a much-needed one-run lead. Adam Ottavino gave up two runs in the ninth before Diekman stranded the tying and potential game-winning runs to end things.

“That’s a big ‘W’ for us tonight,” Iglesias said.

For Iglesias personally, it was even more than that, considering the fact that this time last week he was still in the minors.

This seems much better to him.

“It’s the perfect time for me to be part of this great team that wants to win,” Iglesias said.

Best known for his glove throughout his career (despite a first-inning error Monday), Iglesias has provided offensive punch to the Mets since his call-up. More than that, he proposed efforts.

On Saturday, after entering as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning of what appeared to be a blowout loss, Iglesias crossed the line on a routine ground ball. The resulting infield single scored a run, gave Pete Alonso a chance to follow with a two-run homer and ultimately forced the Diamondbacks within a game.

Two nights later, Iglesias found himself back in the starting lineup for the second time in four games, once again at the expense of a struggling McNeil. Although Mendoza was careful not to call it a strict platoon between the right-handed Iglesias and the left-handed McNeil, the manager appears to be operating that way for now. And Iglesias justifies it with continued results.

“There are so many ways to contribute to a team — not necessarily with the bat or defense, but with energy,” Iglesias said. “You keep pushing your teammates and supporting them – it’s just about the atmosphere.”

At Syracuse, Vientos said, Iglesias was a source of advice, imploring the young player to “trust his abilities” — something Vientos has done well of late with more consistent chances in the Majors. And while he won’t hit .455 forever, Iglesias believes he has plenty more to offer the Mets.

“It’s a privilege to wear this uniform,” he said. “Every game means so much to us. … I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

News Source : www.mlb.com
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