CHICAGO - Yoenis Cespedes did not hit a home run for the Mets in Game 3 of the NLCS on Tuesday night -- that is what they have Daniel Murphy in the lineup for! But he did make a huge impact on the 5-2 victory over the Cubs nonetheless.
Cespedes had three hits, including a double, and one very important steal of third base in the sixth inning. It set up his score on a wild pitch by Trevor Cahill on which Michael Conforto had struck out. It turned out to be the winning run.
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"I was preparing myself for the ball to hit the dirt," Cespedes said afterward through an interpreter. "It happened one other time before [in the at-bat], but I wasn't able to go ahead yet. So I just in my mind was trying to be prepared for anything that could happen."
That play was possible only because of the steal of third, which Cubs manager Joe Maddon labeled a mistake by his team.
"My thinking was just I was confident I would make it, and with just one out, I felt like I knew I could put us ahead," Cespedes said.
Cespedes has had his ups and downs in recent weeks. Tuesday was an up day.
"I think every player goes through some rough patches, and obviously I've had some rough patches in the previous games," he said. "But I'm trying to make up for that now."
He said he had put in extra time in the batting cage, and used some specialized exercises. What kind of exercises? "I don't know how to explain it," he said. "You just have to be in the cage to see what it is I do."
Mets fans surely are fine simply seeing what he did on the field at Wrigley.