Eduardo Escobar’s cycle thrilled Mets: ‘So pumped for him’

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SAN DIEGO — Eduardo Escobar’s popularity within the Mets clubhouse is unsurpassed.

As a source of encouragement and generosity — he has taken the Mets’ entire traveling party out to dinner multiple times this season — Escobar personifies the leadership and professionalism club officials sought last offseason to bolster the team.

So when Escobar came to the plate Monday night at Petco Park with a chance to become the first Mets player in a decade to hit for the cycle, the moment was truly a big deal. Escobar delivered, smacking a ninth-inning triple to reach the cycle, as part of his 4-for-5 performance with six RBIs.

“I was so pumped for him,” Francisco Lindor said before the game Tuesday night. “He is a great guy.”

In characteristic fashion, Escobar credited hitting coach Eric Chavez and his teammates for his recent turnaround. Escobar entered Tuesday on a 20-for-60 (.333) tear with 15 RBIs over his last 14 games.

Eduardo Escobar, who hit for the cycle, celebrates with Pete Alonso after the Mets' win over the Padres on Monday night.
Eduardo Escobar, who hit for the cycle, celebrates with Pete Alonso after the Mets’ win over the Padres on Monday night.
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Escobar slumped in May, posting a .212/.257/.337 slash line for the month after a solid start to his Mets career. Escobar arrived last November on a two-year contract worth $20 million that contains a club option for 2024.

“I am so happy I started hitting and now I will help my team to win,” Escobar said. “That is what’s most important.”

The Mets have received strong production lately from Lindor, Pete Alonso and Starling Marte, among others. Escobar’s emergence only further deepens a lineup that entered Tuesday second in MLB at 5.21 runs per game.

“Very quietly he is reverting to his track record,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That is why you trust guys like him that have such good makeup and so much ‘want to.’ He gets frustrated, but he never takes it out on the field and he never takes it in the clubhouse. He’s a good example for everybody. I think everybody takes a little special emotion out of it.”

Lindor, who is among Escobar’s closest friends on the team, was asked what the veteran infielder brings to the clubhouse.

“Joy and leadership and hustle,” Lindor said. “He plays hard every day. He gives it his best no matter what.”

Luis Guillorme recalled returning to the dugout after taking swings in the indoor cage and realizing Escobar would be coming to the plate again with a chance to hit for the cycle. Escobar had a chance at the triple in his second at-bat, in the fourth inning, but stopped at second base because he didn’t want to risk getting nailed at third for the first out in the inning. He singled in the first and homered in the eighth.

“He hit that ball down the line in the ninth inning and everybody in that dugout just stayed still and you could hear everything,” Guillorme said. “Then everybody just started yelling, ‘triple, triple.’ I think everybody was aware of it.”

Escobar’s catch phrase among teammates is “I’m proud of you.” Mets players returned the favor after his historic game, chirping, “I’m proud of you,” throughout the clubhouse.

“It was great, especially for a guy like him that everybody knows how high-energy he is, how happy he is,” Guillorme said.

Added Lindor: “It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”

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