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Curtis Granderson could steal the MVP in NLCS

New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3)

New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) steals third base in the third inning as Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) is late with the tag during Game 2 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

As per his contract, Curtis Granderson will get a $75,000 bonus if he is named MVP of the NLCS.

At this point, chances are he's not going to be able to steal that title from Daniel Murphy.

But Granderson was the Man of Steal in other ways for the Mets in their 4-1 win over the Cubs in NLCS Game 2 at Citi Field Sunday night.

The Mets rightfielder and leadoff man stole a home run from Chris Coghlan in the second inning and stole two bases in the third. The outfield thievery prevented a run and the stolen bases led to one as Granderson scored on Yoenis Cespedes' infield single.

It all continued Granderson's fine play in the postseason. He has reached base in all seven games and is 9-for-21 (.375) after going 1-for-3 with a walk.

If the Mets win two more against the Cubs, they will be in the World Series. Granderson will earn $100,000 if he is named World Series MVP.

"It would be great, obviously, but we've got to focus on Game 3 first and foremost," said Granderson, a Chicago native. "No matter what ends up happening after Game 3, there will still be a fourth game after that. I think that's the way you have to approach it. Definitely can't get too far ahead of yourselves."

Granderson's contributions started early. He singled off Jake Arrieta to lead off the bottom of the first and scored the game's first run when David Wright followed with a booming double to center. Murphy then homered for the fourth consecutive game to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

In the next half-inning, Granderson scaled the rightfield fence to take a potential home run away from Coghlan.

"A combination of things leads yourself to that," Granderson said. "I've got to be deep to begin with. The fact that those guys swing the bat and drive the ball, I've got to play deeper. It's a lower fence, so it definitely helps out."

It still was 3-0 in the third when Granderson drew a leadoff walk. He stole second as Wright struck out and third with Cespedes batting. When Cespedes hit an infield single to shortstop Javier Baez's right, Granderson scored for a 4-0 lead.

Further evidence of Mets magic: Granderson said he stole third because Murphy flashed him the No. 2 sign from first base. Granderson took off, but Murphy stayed put. After the game, Granderson still wasn't sure what Murphy was trying to tell him.

"He just gave me a signal," Granderson said. "He put up a two. I was like, 'OK, I think that means he wants me to go on the second pitch.' So sure enough I did. It may not have exactly been what he was trying to do, but I went and he didn't follow, so it may not have been that. But it ended up working itself out for us."

Murphy confirmed he was giving Granderson the sign to steal on the second pitch but decided not to go himself. Like everything else in this Mets postseason, it worked out just fine.


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