Associated Press
Saturday October 1st, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The New York Mets clinched a playoff spot Saturday, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 to secure the top National League wild card.

The defending NL champions will host San Francisco or St. Louis on Wednesday night at Citi Field, with the winner advancing to face the Chicago Cubs.

James Loney hit a two-run homer to back 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (15-8), and Jeurys Familia closed for his major league-high 51st save. T.J. Rivera, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera each had an RBI single.

The only other time the Mets made the postseason in consecutive years was 1999-2000. New York won the NL East last season and went all the way to the World Series before losing to Kansas City.

This season has presented all sorts of new challenges. The banged-up Mets overcame a bevy of injuries that depleted their lineup and decimated a terrific young rotation - with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all sidelined by season-ending ailments.

Two games under .500 after Aug. 19, the Mets have gone a major league-best 27-12 during the last six weeks to vault over four teams in the NL wild-card race.

And by clinching with one day to spare in the regular season, the Mets can now save All-Star ace Noah Syndergaard for the wild-card game. The big right-hander could still get a brief tuneup Sunday against the Phillies, but should be fresh for Wednesday.

Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in what was likely his penultimate game with Philadelphia.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.