CLEVELAND -- More than any other component, the Mets' offense is built around power. It was the thing that defined them down the stretch last season, from Yoenis Cespedes' post-Trade Deadline home-run binge to Lucas Duda's streaky muscle. In constructing a lineup, New York sacrificed speed, defensive aptitude and contact hitting in pursuit of the almighty home run.
So it was notable, if not downright concerning, when Terry Collins' club clubbed just two home runs over its first eight games -- the lowest total in Major League Baseball. And it was equally reassuring when the Mets began correcting that in a hurry on Friday, thumping four home runs -- three-quarters of them in one inning -- to triple their season total in a 6-5 win over the Indians.
Cespedes homered, a two-run job. Neil Walker did the same as part of a three-homer, five-run fifth. Alejandro De Aza added a solo shot that inning and Michael Conforto hit one out earlier in the game. On a night when starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was adequate but not spectacular, it was precisely the sort of offensive output the Mets needed.
"This team can do it all," De Aza said. "Any night, you can see this or better."
Almost every offensive gain the Mets made last season revolved around the long ball. While the team made almost no progress in batting average and on-base percentage from 2014 to '15, ranking in the bottom third of the Majors in both categories each year, it jumped from 20th to ninth in homers. The result was a nine percent increase in total runs scored, much of that production coming after Cespedes came to town in late July.
Perhaps it was appropriate, then, that Cespedes' shot rang as loud as any on Friday, giving the Mets a three-run lead shortly after De Aza put them ahead.
"That's kind of how our lineup is constructed," Walker said. "We're going to have nights like tonight and we're going to have nights on the opposite side."
The Mets hadn't hit three home runs in a single inning on the road in nearly a decade, since Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran and David Wright did it on July 16, 2006. Things went so swimmingly for Mets power hitters on this night that even Walker, who had not homered off a left-handed pitcher since 2014, clubbed one against Ross Detwiler in the fifth.
For the Mets, it was the exact tonic their homer-driven offense so badly needed.
"You look at the construction of our lineup, you don't see a ton of guys that are going to run," Walker said. "I don't think we're going to do a lot of hit-and-running, moving guys for the most part. But we're trying to drive balls in the gap, we're trying to stay to the big part of the field, and nights like tonight are a good example of what we can do."