"It's the things that he'll say inside of hitters' meetings or inside of a conversation that will elevate everybody's thought process," manager Torey Lovullo said. "There's no greater gift than sharing information and he is on a quest to make this team better by being himself and sharing what he knows."
Adding his offense and defense helps, too.
Pham hit a tying home run in the eighth inning to finish a triple short of the cycle in his return to Citi Field, and Ketel Marte had a go-ahead double in the ninth for a 4-3 victory Monday night that gave Arizona just its fourth win in 20 games against the New York Mets.
Acquired from the Mets on Aug. 1, Pham doubled to start a two-run fourth against José Quintana and singled in the fifth. With Arizona trailing 3-2, he greeted Trevor Gott by driving a slider to the opposite field in right-center for his 16th home run this season, sixth with the Diamondbacks.
In addition to going 3 for 5 at the plate, Pham threw out Jeff McNeil at second trying to stretch a single to right.
"A lot of barrels out of that guy," teammate Alek Thomas said. "He was telling me that you get paid with pull-side homers and then he goes and hits three backside homers. I'm like, what are you talking about, man? The money's over there."
Seeking its first postseason appearance since 2017, Arizona (76-69) opened a 1 1/2-game lead for the last NL wild card. The Diamondbacks were swept by the Mets in Phoenix during a three-game series in July.
Pham left the clubhouse while Lovullo was speaking with reporters. The 35-year-old outfielder is hitting .261 with 35 RBI in 34 games for Arizona, leaving him with 61 RBI for the season. Of the $1.64 million Pham was owed at the time of the trade, the Mets agreed to pay the Diamondbacks half.
"He's a great self-evaluator," Lovullo said. "You try to high-five after a well-hit ball, and he's going to tell you: Not well enough, I didn't get a hit.'"
In a game that started 1 hour, 12 minutes late because of rain, Evan Longoria had an RBI single and Emmanuel Rivera a sacrifice fly as Arizona took a 2-0 lead. R onny Mauricio's two-run double off Zach Davies put the Mets ahead 3-2 in a three-run fourth that included McNeil's eighth homer. Pham's homer erased the lead.
Thomas pinch hit in the ninth and singled off Drew Smith (4-6). Marte fisted an opposite-field double down the left-field line and when the ball ricocheted off the wall in the corner and bounced out of McNeil's glove, the speedy Thomas scored standing up.
Kevin Ginkel (8-0) struck out two in a perfect eighth, and former Mets reliever Paul Sewald got his 33rd save in 38 chances this season - his 12th in 14 opportunities since the Diamondbacks acquired him from Seattle on July 31.
Mauricio stole third with one out in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach took a called third strike. Omar Narváez walked and Lovullo had first baseman Christian Walker play behind Tim Locastro, allowing the pinch runner to steal second as the potential winning run. The extra base didn't matter when Sewald retired Brandon Nimmo on a game-ending flyout, and New York (65-78) matched its season low of 13 games under .500.
Lovullo was willing to concede the base to Locastro.
"He's got 99 speed in PlayStation," he said. "We felt like there was a hole that was open for a left-handed hitter, and we wanted to protect that."
On the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, the Mets wore caps of the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York, the Port Authority Police Department, Department of Sanitation and Department of Correction. Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor wore a specially designed glove and first baseman Pete Alonso special tribute spikes.
"I just kind of was thinking today that there should be some sort of national remembrance," former Mets catcher Mike Piazza said during a pregame news conference. "I don't know about holidays today because it seems like people work at home and things like that, but maybe from a federal level, there could be some incentive to try to crystallize it."
Diamondbacks: Rivera banged his left shoulder into the tarp in an unsuccessful attempt to catch Brett Baty's foul pop behind third but remained in the game. ... Marte (bruised right knee) and Jordan Lawlar (right knuckle) were back in the starting lineup after missing Sunday's game. ... C Gabriel Moreno was in Orlando, Florida, for the birth of a child and was put on the paternity list. He will return to the team by Thursday. C José Herrera was recalled from Triple-A Reno.
Mets: C Francisco Álvarez didn't play, a day after he was hit on the outside of his right hand by a pitch.
Arizona RHP Ryne Nelson (7-7, 5.30 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Mets RHP José Butto (0-2 3.86) in a matchup of rookies.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb