Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo make key defensive plays in Mets’ win

The hardest part, Francisco Lindor said, was the flip.

His feet were already on the outfield grass when he collected Donovan Solano’s grounder in the fourth inning.

His body’s momentum was shifting away from the target — Jeff McNeil’s glove at second base — for the ball, too.

Francisco Lindor fields a ball by Padres designated hitter Donovan Solano during the fourth inning of the Mets’ 5-1 win. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

But in one motion — one “special” motion, as manager Carlos Mendoza described it — Lindor lofted the ball toward McNeil and roared toward fans beyond the outfield fence after the fielder’s choice sequence ended the frame.

Lindor then doubled in his next at-bat, scored the first run and sparked the Mets in their 5-1 win over the Padres on Saturday at Citi Field.

“I’m trying to get myself going,” Lindor, who went 1-for-3 with two walks, said of his reaction. “I’m trying to get my team going. I’m trying to get the fans going. Ultimately, my reaction was for that reason: I’m trying to get everybody going.”

Francisco Lindor reacts after his double in the Mets’ win over the Padres. JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST

His defensive gem, flashing the instincts that landed him Gold Gloves in 2016 and 2019, was one of two by the Mets — with the other from Brandon Nimmo — in the fourth that helped Jose Quintana produce his best start since April.

At first, Nimmo had some competition with a fan for snagging Fernando Tatis Jr.’s foul ball down the left-field line.

And after Nimmo leaned over the side wall to make the catch, he shook hands with that fan, checked to make sure they were OK and received a couple of pats on the back.

Nimmo then held out his glove to show that he had, in fact, caught the ball.

It allowed Quintana to avoid having to toss another pitch to Tatis, who had ripped a double — 100.3 mph off the bat — in the first inning.

Later in the fourth, Lindor turned a single into a double with aggressive two-out baserunning.

He watched his hit to left for two steps before trusting first base coach Antoan Richardson, who sent him to second.

Nimmo gave the Mets a 1-0 lead on the next pitch, giving him hits in eight of his past 10 games and helping the outfielder work toward snapping a lengthy slump that led to him undergoing concussion tests when it coincided with a pitch drilling him in the head.

For most of the regular season, the Mets’ defense has been defined by mistakes.

Brandon Nimmo made the catch in the stands. SNY/X

By the 44 errors that were tied for the fourth-most in MLB entering Saturday — Lindor committed No. 45 on a throwing error in the eighth, too.

But for one inning, Lindor and Nimmo provided a glimpse of what the Mets’ defense could add when those miscues weren’t stringing together.

“That’s one thing that you’ll see out of Francisco: It doesn’t matter how things are going at the plate or offensively or the way the team is playing, he’s engaged,” Mendoza said. “Defense for him is a priority every pitch, and pretty special play [Saturday].”

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