(Reuters) - The New York Mets are back in the Major League Baseball playoffs for the first time since 2006, after clinching the National League East division championship on Saturday.
A first-inning grand slam by first baseman Lucas Duda set them on the path to a 10-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and took their 2015 record to 88-67 with seven regular season games remaining.
“We’ve waited a long time for this,” manager Terry Collins said. “This is tremendous.”
The Mets, coming off six straight losing seasons, were struggling to stay in playoff contention as recently as late July as the batting line-up failed to support a strong pitching rotation.
But they surged toward the end of the season after bringing in five players just before the trade deadline, including Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes, a former All-Star.
The team has scored 300 runs since Aug. 1, the most in the majors, going 35-17 in the process.
The Mets are now almost certain to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League Division series.
They last played in the World Series in 2000, when they lost to their local rival Yankees.
The Mets have won the World Series twice, in 1969 and 1986.
“It’s gratifying to see it come together,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “You never quite know when it’s going to happen. But you have to have faith.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes