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Josh Fleming helps Tampa Bay Rays secure series sweep vs. New York Mets

May 16, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Josh Fleming (19) throws a pitch in the second inning against the New York Mets at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Manuel Margot and Willy Adames belted two-run homers, starter Josh Fleming fired five shutout innings and the Tampa Bay Rays swept the New York Mets with a 7-1 win Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Rays’ series sweep of the National League East club pushed their winning streak to four and lifted them to four games over .500 for the first time.

In his season debut after arthroscopic knee surgery in March, Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi started at first base and went 3-for-4 with an RBI double. Margot capped his 2-for-4 day by plating Choi with the final run on an eighth-inning single.

Brandon Lowe also homered and scored twice.

Fleming (3-3) faced just one batter over the minimum — a leadoff single erased by a double play and also a fielding error — in a 53-pitch effort. He struck out five with no walks.

New York’s Marcus Stroman (3-4) surrendered five runs on six hits — three home runs — struck out one and walked one over six innings.

Mets designated hitter Jeff McNeil opened the series finale with an infield single — his 21st straight game reaching base — but the inning ended on a sour note after Michael Conforto grounded into a double play and left after grabbing his right thigh.

Two innings later, McNeil also left the game — both players were announced as suffering from hamstring tightness — and was replaced by Patrick Mazeika, leaving the club with backup catcher Tomas Nido as the only bench player.

Stroman and Fleming cruised through a quick 3 1/2 innings before the Mets pitcher grooved a flat 92 mph sinker to Margot with Lowe on first and two outs in the fourth.

Margot turned on the offering and laced a shot out to left-center for his fourth homer and a 2-0 lead for the home side.

Adames, who went 2-for-3, added on in the next frame after Stroman hit leadoff batter Francisco Mejia with a 2-2 delivery. He then left the first pitch over the plate to the shortstop, who made it 4-0 by blasting his fifth homer to right-center.

Mazeika lobbed a home run to right field off reliever Diego Castillo for his first hit in the majors in the sixth, but Lowe got the marker back in the bottom half with his seventh dinger.

–Field Level Media