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Mets’ offense thriving with style that’s uniquely its own

In an era of long-ball specialists, the Mets are perfecting the old art of small-ball — although, please don’t call it that around manager Buck Showalter. 

“What’s small about it?” Showalter said with emphasis. “Three hundred sixty feet is 360 feet. That’s what it takes to tour the bases.” 

OK, call it something else. But whatever it is, the Mets are doing it better than anyone else. 

Whatever you name it, they are pulling off a quinella that’s rarely been done before, much less tried, and certainly not in this century. They stand as 18th in the majors in home runs (they have 64), and yet they are first in scoring runs (they have 348 of those). 

Give them an inch, and they will take 90 feet en route to that 360-foot tour. They did it again before a holiday crowd Monday, combining their usual array of singles, speed, sacrifice flies and a hit batsman (a specialty of theirs) to beat the Marlins 6-0 in the most typical of Mets victories. 

It’s a style all their own. 

Yes indeed, call it Buck Ball. 

It’s taking advantage of every opportunity the other team provides. It just so happens the young Marlins suffered a few mental lapses, committed a couple of physical errors and wrapped a few extraordinary gifts. 

The ultimate example was Jeff McNeil, reborn with Showalter on board, scoring on a wild pitch that bounced only about 20 feet from Marlins catcher Jacob Stallings, whose last name seemed to serve as a direction for slumping second-year pitcher Trevor Rogers. McNeil made an immediate sprint, and scored. 

“McNeil is like a quarterback, always surveying the defense,” Showalter said, admiringly. 

Jeff McNeil scores on a wild pitch during the Mets' win over the Marlins.
Jeff McNeil scores on a wild pitch during the Mets’ over the Marlins.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post
Buck Showalter
Buck Showalter
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

The Marlins defense wasn’t exactly the Steel Curtain. No names yes, but no execution, either. Every time the Marlins erred, the Mets capitalized. The Mets’ lone extra-base hit of their nine hits came only because Marlins center fielder Bryan De La Cruz threw to the wrong base, allowing Brandon Nimmo to glide into second. 

“I was proud of the way we played baseball today — cashing in on opportunities,” Showalter said.