Juan Uribe's reputation as a clutch player precedes him. As Terry Collins spoke to bench coach Bob Geren during the Mets' 3-2 win over the Dodgers Sunday, the Mets manager's right-hand man imparted some wisdom.
"We have to get him in this game if they get back in it," Collins said Geren told him. "He's got to be in the lineup because he'll get a big hit."
Perhaps Geren should consider a career in fortune-telling when his baseball days are over. Uribe, who, along with Kelly Johnson was acquired from the Braves on Friday night, had the biggest hit of the afternoon. His game-winning single in the 10th inning drove in Curtis Granderson, who legged out a leadoff double.
It was Uribe's 10th career walk-off RBI and first since Aug. 14, 2010, when he was with the Giants.
"It's a position where you have to do what the team needed," he said. "Today, I'll go home and be happy."
The hit came on a two-strike pitch from Kenley Jansen, whose 17 saves ties him for 10th in the National League.
"I'm thinking contact," said Uribe, who's hitting .275 with eight homers and 24 RBIs. "That's all I want to try . . . That's how I hit the ball . . . I don't think he wanted to throw the pitch over there. With two strikes, I don't think he wanted to throw the ball there. But maybe they wanted a surprise."
"He took some great swings against one of the best closers in the game," Granderson said. "Jansen throws hard and puts a lot of movement on it. Then, with two strikes, to put the same type of swing, connect like that, and drive it, that's just a credit to a very good hitter who's been around the game for a very long time."
Collins said he thought the hit, which banged against the centerfield wall, was headed over the fence. "How it didn't get out, I have no idea," he said. "It was mashed. That's why we got him."
Uribe batted for Johnson in the eighth inning and went 1-for-2 with an RBI. He is 2-for-4 in two games as a Met.
The RBI prevented what would have been an excruciating loss in front of 36,093 fans. Mets starter Jacob deGrom outpitched Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, but Jeurys Familia blew a save for the fourth time in 31 opportunities this season.
But all's well that ends well.
"It was like when you play in the playoffs or the World Series and you win it," Uribe said. "When you get traded to a team and you help the team, it makes you feel happy. I feel happy today."
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.