NEW YORK -- The Mets returned to Citi Field for their final homestand on Friday in an enviable position. With a one-game cushion in the National League Wild Card race and the NL's easiest schedule before them, they held control of their fate. The Mets' only requirement was to win at least as many games as the next-best teams.
They began that process with a clinical 3-0 win over the Twins that typified the type of team they've become. Bartolo Colon gave the Mets seven shutout innings, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs and the Mets never trailed. WIth the Giants' 8-2 win over the Cardinals, the Mets held on to the second NL Wild Card spot and secured a two-game lead over the Cardinals in the race.
"I think the mindset is just getting into the postseason right now," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to just continue to try to win as many games as we can. We made a statement about three weeks ago that we've just got to take care of our own business and if we do, we'll get back in the hunt. Well, we're in the hunt. Deeply. And that's all we've got to continue to do is not worry about anything else except our business, to try to win a game each and every night."
Though Twins rookie Jose Berrios managed to extricate himself from a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, the Mets took the lead for good on homers by Reyes and Cabrera in the third. Yoenis Cespedes later added an RBI single off reliever Pat Light.
It was more than enough for Colon, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, who held the Twins to just three hits. Minnesota, too, loaded the bases at one point, but Jorge Polanco flew out to end that third-inning threat.
"We really only hit one ball hard," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, referring to Polanco's sixth-inning single.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Back to back: The Mets' reliance on the long ball continued into Friday's third inning, which Reyes and Cabrera opened with back-to-back shots. After Reyes pulled his seventh home run over the right-field fence, Cabrera obliterated his 20th a projected 394 feet into the upper deck, according to Statcast™. Cabrera's home run was also his 19th as a shortstop, matching the franchise record of -- who else? -- Reyes.
"I got excited when I hit a home run, too," Cabrera said.
Better for Berrios: Better doesn't necessarily mean good, because the 22-year-old Twins right-hander still allowed the Mets seven baserunners in four innings, including the back-to-back home runs. But after eight consecutive starts in which he allowed runs in either the first or second innings, Berrios was able to pitch out of some trouble Friday and keep the Mets off the scoreboard until the third. His ERA through 12 Major League starts is 8.88, and the Twins are still trying to figure out how to get him to pitch as effectively as he has at Triple-A Rochester, where he was 10-5 with a 2.51 ERA in 17 starts this season.
"I think it's a matter of time before he starts to figure it out up here," Molitor said Friday afternoon. More >
Ageless wonder: Colon actually labored a bit early, throwing 54 pitches over the game's first three innings. Then he grew pinpoint-precise, buzzing through the next four in 40 total pitches. Colon capped his scoreless outing with a five-pitch seventh, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced. More >
Rally-killer: Citi Field held its collective breath in the ninth inning, when Familia walked two batters before serving up a deep fly ball to pinch-hitter Kennys Vargas, which ended the game. The result was Familia's 49th save, tying a Major League single-season record by a Dominican-born reliever. Jose Valverde (2011) and Francisco Cordero (2004) also saved 49 in a season.
"That's a routine play. I always do that." -- Colon, on the first-inning double play he started with a gliding stab of Polanco's grounder back toward the mound
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Berrios had never come to the plate in a professional game before his third-inning single off Colon on Friday night. He said the last time he hit was in 2012, when he was in high school in Puerto Rico.
"It was a beautiful moment," he said of getting a hit off Colon, who made his Major League debut when Berrios was two years old.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Cabrera, who has battled patella tendon soreness in his left knee since Spring Training, departed after eight innings due to cramping in his right leg. The Mets said his departure was for precautionary reasons, and Cabrera does not expect to miss any time.
Twins third baseman-outfielder Miguel Sano received treatment and saw a doctor Friday in Minnesota, and the Twins expect to announce an update on his status Saturday. Sano has been out since Monday with lower back tightness.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After Max Kepler reached base to lead off the fourth inning on a Cespedes error, Colon attempted to pick him off on a sharp throw to first. Umpire Brian Gorman initially ruled Kepler safe, but a 62-second review was all the Mets needed to overturn the call.
As for Cespedes' error, the left fielder said he lost focus on the field thinking about a call during his at-bat a half-inning earlier.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (7-10, 3.53 ERA) makes his 28th start of the season in Saturday night's 6:10 p.m. CT game at Citi Field.
Mets: One of baseball's most surprising second-half breakout performers, Seth Lugo will return to the mound for a 7:10 p.m. ET game Saturday. Since joining the rotation, Lugo has gone 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA, winning each of the past four games he has started.