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Mets sweep Cubs in NLCS, advance to World Series

NLCS Mets Cubs Baseball

New York Mets’ Lucas Duda is congratulated by Curtis Granderson after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


For the first time since the 2000 Subway Series, the Mets are heading to the Fall Classic. And they’ll be hunting for their first World Series title since 1986.

It was first baseman Lucas Duda who served as the initial unlikely hero in Wednesday night’s NLCS Game 4 clincher at Wrigley Field, slugging a three-run shot in the Mets’ four-run opening frame and a two-run double in the second. He finished the 8-3 series-sweeping victory with three extra-base hits and five RBI.

Duda entered the evening with just one hit in the Championship Series, and he had just two hits with 11 strikeouts in 18 at-bats during the Division Series.

That stuff has become a theme this October for the Mets, and second baseman Daniel Murphy again got in on the fun with a two-run bomb in the top of the eighth inning that gave New York its seventh and eighth runs of Game 4. With that shot, Murphy became the first player in major league history to go yard in six consecutive postseason games. The 30-year-old impending free agent had just 14 homers during the regular season and he hit nine home runs in all of 2014.

Mets left-hander Steven Matz only lasted 4 2/3 innings Wednesday in his Game 4 assignment, but he didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings and that hot start -- coupled with the early offensive outburst from Duda -- helped suck much of the air out of Wrigley Field.

The crowd only really got going when Kris Bryant slugged a two-run homer off Mets reliever Tyler Clippard in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the script had been written and edited and leather-bound by that point.

New York now has five days to rest up before Game 1 of the World Series next Tuesday night in either Toronto or Kansas City. That chunk of time could prove highly beneficial given that Yoenis Cespedes had to make an early exit Wednesday with discomfort in his left shoulder. Mets manager Terry Collins acknowledged on the TBS broadcast that Cespedes could not lift his arm.

Champagne tends to ease some of the aches and pains. Pour it up, pour it up.

Follow @drewsilv