NEW YORK -- The ball from Michael Conforto's first big league hit rested on the top shelf of his locker late Saturday night following the Mets' 15-2 win against the Dodgers, a present-in-waiting to the rookie's grandfather. The Mets were thrilled for Conforto on his 4-for-4 night, with an RBI and four runs scored. But they were happier still that Conforto had a ridiculous amount of company.
The rookie outfielder's first-inning infield single was just one of his four hits, and just one of 21 the Mets collected. Kirk Nieuwenhuis added four. Lucas Duda had two, both homers. One of the two newest Mets, Kelly Johnson, added a single and a home run.
"We had one of those nights where the team, we couldn't miss," Johnson said.
Not since 2010 had the Mets recorded 21 hits in a game. Never this season had they scored 15 runs.
In truth, the Mets have had well-documented trouble scoring anything at all, which is why they recalled Conforto from Double-A Binghamton on Thursday and traded for Johnson and Juan Uribe one day later. Saturday began with manager Terry Collins publicly putting his hitters "on notice," telling a group of them that the new acquisitions should spell bench time for all who underperform.
Baseball is too difficult a game to assume those words alone spurred the Mets' most incessant offensive attack in years. They are a sure bet to feel the tug of regression as soon as Sunday afternoon, when Cy Young favorite Zack Greinke, who has a scoreless streak of 43 2/3 innings, takes the mound.
"We've got a little bigger challenge," Collins said.
But change was nonetheless palpable throughout a near-perfect night at Citi Field, as the sun cast a setting glow over the grandstand and the 7 Line Army went berserk in center. Genuine optimism followed the Mets' acquisitions of Johnson and Uribe, their promotion of Conforto and general manager Sandy Alderson's statements that there may be more to come.
The Mets are still one of the bottom-ranked offensive teams in baseball. But now they have potential. Now they have hope. Now they have tangible evidence that things can change in Flushing.
"Winning helps for sure," Nieuwenhuis said. "Winning's a lot better than losing. It's just a good reminder that baseball's a crazy game."