Flores joins Mets history with 6-for-6 output

Likely battling for future role, infielder ties Alfonzo's record

July 3rd, 2016

NEW YORK -- Officially retired from service after only a few days, Wilmer Flores' black-and-brown bat rested on the ground next to his locker, a fissure running from the handle down toward the barrel. Flores cracked it during his final plate appearance in the Mets' 14-3 win over the Cubs on Sunday, converting the lumber into a souvenir.
It was that bat that Flores used to record each of his franchise-record-tying six hits in the game, including two homers, joining Edgardo Alfonzo as one of two Mets to achieve a feat nearly three times rarer than a no-hitter. Only 101 players had collected a half-dozen or more hits in a game before Flores redirected Miguel Montero's 82-mph sinker into left field, taking advantage of a position player pitching in the lopsided game.
"It's definitely a good feeling, being part of history," said Flores, whose batting average jumped from .224 to .255.

Perhaps entering his final days as the Mets' unquestioned third baseman, Flores opened a seven-run second inning with a home run to left field, then watched from the dugout as seven of the next eight Mets reached base against Cubs starter Jon Lester. When it was his turn again, Flores grabbed his 31.5-ounce, 34-inch Marucci model bat, strolled to the plate and ripped an RBI single to chase Lester from the game.
In the fourth, Flores singled again. In the fifth, he blasted a two-run homer off Spencer Patton. In the seventh, he pulled another single to left field, and by that point -- "I'm not going to lie," he said -- history was on his brain. When the Cubs sent Montero, a catcher, out to the mound to spare the rest of the bullpen, Flores frowned.
"I didn't want to face a position player," he said. "But he threw one in the middle, and I hit it."
The result was one of baseball's rarest feats. The way Flores achieved it was rarer still: Only 17 players have collected two home runs as part of a six-hit game, including Alfonzo, a fellow Venezuelan who called Flores afterward to congratulate him.
"You've got to be really, really happy for him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's such a great guy. And he plays hard. He got this job, and the one thing he knows is, 'How long's it going to last?'"

Most likely, not particularly long. Though the Mets gave Flores a mostly uninterrupted run at their starting third-base job after David Wright suffered what figures to be a season-ending neck injury, Flores entered Sunday's play batting just .158 with a .503 OPS over his previous 19 games. During that time, the Mets signed four-time All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, sending him to the Minors to learn third base. Reyes is due to rejoin the Mets as soon as this week, with the promise of cutting significantly into Flores' playing time.
"I don't think players are naive," Collins said. "I think players are much more aware than people give them credit for, and I don't think there's any question Wilmer has heard, has read, has been told that Jose Reyes is playing third base and that he's on his way here. And I think Wilmer, as I have seen in the past from him, he's the kind of guy that says, 'You know what? He's going to have to get this job.'"

When asked about Reyes, Flores mostly demurred. But it's clear that Flores, a fan favorite ever since his near-trade to the Brewers and subsequent walk-off homer against the Nationals last summer, feels all he needs is regular playing time to continue contributing.
"I know the kind of player I am," Flores said. "I know that I've done this very often. Once you're out there and keep playing and get more at-bats, you just get more comfortable."