Mets set franchise record with eight home runs in blowout win over Phillies

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The Mets celebrated David Wright’s return from the disabled list Monday by setting franchise records with 15 extra-base hits and eight home runs as part of a blowout 16-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. By the way, Wright got the fireworks started by homering in his first at-bat since April 14.

Lost in all of this is that Jacob deGrom had his worst start in the majors, lasting just 2 2/3 innings. The Mets trailed 7-2 after the third inning. However, deGrom picked a good time for an off night, as his offense bailed him out with 14 unanswered runs. Meanwhile, Sean Gilmartin tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to hold the Phillies in check and save the bullpen.

Wilmer Flores hit two home runs, including a go-ahead three-run shot in the fifth inning. Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Cuddyer, Daniel Murphy, and Yoenis Cespedes also went deep. The Phillies hit three home runs of their own, so the two teams combined for 11 home runs, which ties a National League record. It has happened five times, most recently on May 17, 1979 between the Phillies and Cubs.

The Mets are riding high right now. Including their three-game sweep of the Rockies over the weekend, they have scored 49 runs over their last four games. More importantly, they are now a season-high 12 games over .500 at 68-56 and a season-high 5 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals in the National League East.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.