Big hit for Curtis Granderson completes Mets' ninth-inning rally
So many thoughts raced through Curtis Granderson's head when the ball left his bat in the ninth inning Friday night with a chance to give the Mets a wild victory.
Is it going to get through the infield? What if it gets knocked down? Can I beat it out?
He still was thinking about those scenarios when his eyes widened at the sight of his hard-hit shot scooting beyond the reach of first baseman Garrett Jones into rightfield for the game-winning hit.
Granderson's two-out single off Marlins closer Steve Cishek capped a two-run rally in the ninth inning and gave the Mets a 4-3 win. It also might have been just what the Mets' new rightfielder needs to snap out of his funk.
That last part, however, did not go through Granderson's head. Or so he said.
Instead, he was too busy celebrating yet another comeback victory, taking part in a mosh pit with his teammates alongside first base before getting the requisite postgame pie to the face.
"Actually, that was my first one," Granderson said of the pie. "It was whipped cream, and it tasted good."
So did the victory, the Mets' fifth in their last six games.
Only minutes before Granderson came through with the walk-off hit, it looked as if the Mets would start this weekend series with a deflating defeat, maybe their worst loss of the season.
Reliever Gonzalez Germen, brought in to protect a one-run lead to start the seventh, gave up back-to-back home runs to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jones with two outs in the eighth. They were the first home runs allowed by Mets pitchers in more than 57 innings, including the five games before Friday night.
The double dose of home runs also wiped away a positive outing by Zack Wheeler, who allowed one run in six innings and struck out 10.
But if we've learned anything about these Mets this season, it's that they have resolve. They've won 13 of 20 since being swept by the Washington Nationals in a season-opening three-game series.
And it was all possible because of the ninth-inning comeback against Cishek, who came in having converted 33 straight save opportunities.
The rally began when Lucas Duda singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Travis d'Arnaud. Pinch hitter Bobby Abreu scorched a liner right at leftfielder Christian Yelich for the second out before Omar Quintanilla looped a single to leftfield. Yelich slipped while trying make his throw, allowing Duda to score the tying run, and the Mets' bench erupted.
"After Bobby's shot was caught, all of us were really annoyed it didn't fall in," Kirk Nieuwenhuis said. "But Quintanilla's at-bat gave us a lot of energy."
Nieuwenhuis' pinch-hit double to leftfield moved Quintanilla to third. That brought Granderson to the plate, a fitting bit of drama considering how much he's struggled in his first month.
After taking a called strike, Granderson smacked a hard shot just to the right of Jones. A better defensive first baseman might have made the play, but as longtime baseball folks like to say, you won't see that in the boxscore.
Next thing Granderson knew, he was being greeted by some teammates at first base while Quintanilla was being mobbed at the plate, another victory in the books.
Said Wheeler, "Can't ask for a better comeback than that right there."