Wilmer Flores was honest about what his return to face the Mets meant to him before he took the field for the Diamondbacks on Monday.
"It's awesome," Flores said in the Citi Field visitors' clubhouse. "New York's always going to be home. It's good to be back."
The Mets pulled out the 3-1 win thanks to Jacob deGrom's dominant outing, and Seth Lugo's two perfect innings shut the door while Pete Alonso's two home runs and supplied the bulk of the power, but Flores shined in his homecoming when he belted a solo shot in the top of the fifth inning.
After deGrom fell behind in a 3-1 count, Flores jumped all over the ensuing pitch, pulling a 97-mph fastball from down the middle and depositing the ball out into the left-field seats to put Arizona on the board and cut the Mets' lead to 2-1.
He knew what to expect going against his former teammate in deGrom, who limited the Diamondbacks to the one run -- Flores' homer -- on three hits with 11 strikeouts to one walk in 7.0 innings.
"He's one of the guys," Flores said. "We have a really good friendship. I just wanted to say, 'Hi,' and he's a tough pitcher. I got in a hitter's count and I got the pitch I wanted and I was able to hit it."
Flores followed his initial plate appearance in the top of the second inning, a leadoff groundout for Amed Rosario to Alonso, in which he received a standing ovation with the solo shot to put the Diamondbacks on the board three frames later.
"Definitely, he's got stuff and command," Flores said of deGrom. "When a pitcher's got those two things, it's going to be tough. Anytime deGrom is on the mound, it's going to be a battle and he won the battle today."
Flores went 1 for 3 with an RBI off the home run against his former team. He returns to Citi Field when his past and present team face off again as the four-game series continues Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. on SNY.
"I was a little nervous, the first inning and after I got the ovation," Flores said. "After my first at-bat, it was all about playing baseball, but I had fun out there."