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Citi Field rocking like Shea Stadium for the first time

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NEW YORK -- Infielder Wilmer Flores cried in full public view on Wednesday when he thought he was getting dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers. Amid trade rumblings the following day, rehabbing Zack Wheeler called general manager Sandy Alderson to say he did not want to leave.

All of a sudden, after six straight losing seasons, it suddenly is desirable to play in Queens.

"It's so much fun to be a Met right now," right-hander Noah Syndergaard said after tossing eight strong innings as the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals in a 5-2 win and pulled into a virtual first-place tie atop the division.

Just days after Mets fans despaired about a trade for Carlos Gomez falling through and blowing a six-run lead in a loss to the San Diego Padres, Citi Field rocked for a weekend like the seven-year-old ballpark had never done so before -- except for fleeting individual events such as Johan Santana's no-hitter and R.A. Dickey's 20th victory.

"Maybe Johan's no-hitter, the last couple of innings," said Bobby Parnell, one of the few long-tenured Mets. "Not the magnitude we've had the last three games. It's definitely a notch up than what we're used to. That's probably as close to a playoff atmosphere as we've had in a while. I think the young guys are feeling the enjoyment that's going on. It's definitely something we pick up on."

The Mets smacked the bully in the face this weekend after the Nats had won 33 of the previous 42 games at Citi Field since 2011.

The teams still play six more times this season -- including the final series of the year, Oct. 2-4 at Citi Field.

"Getting a chance to be out there and feel the energy and feel the electricity, it reminded me a lot of Shea [Stadium] in '06 and '07 and '08 -- just the rowdiness," said captain David Wright, who rejoined the Mets this week, although he remains on the disabled list. "There's a buzz that hasn't quite been there because we haven't quite played as well as we've played this year. I can't remember Citi Field rocking the way that it has been this weekend."

How giddy were Mets fans? They taunted Bryce Harper with chants of "over-rated, over-rated". Even Mr. Mets got bold, trying to fist bump Nats general manager Mike Rizzo after the sweep. (The mascot apparently did not recognize Rizzo, for the record.)

"Since I've been here five or six days now, it's more fans than I've ever seen here before," said Tyler Clippard, who earned the save against his longtime employer with closer Jeurys Familia unavailable. "They're into it more than I've ever seen before. And rightfully so. We've got an exciting club here and we're playing well."

Said manager Terry Collins: "This is my first experience with a New York crowd and what it's like here. And the energy they bring to the ballpark is unbelievable. I knew Noah, in the eighth inning, he's starting to run low on fuel. And here they are, they all rise and cheer every pitch. What they have done, I'll tell you, if we continue this, they're going to help. They're going to help a great deal to keep this club energized through the next two months."