Up until the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday night, the Mets’ only bright spot had been Yoenis Cespedes’ neon arm sleeve.
They were trailing the Cubs by three runs and had mustered only two hits and two walks against John Lackey. Then, with one out and nobody on, Cespedes did what he does best: hit the ball really, really far.
Up 2-and-0 in the count, Cespedes sat on a fastball and drilled it into the third deck in leftfield. The 466-foot blast came off the bat at 112 miles per hour, according to ESPN Stats & Info. It was the longest home run of Cespedes’ career.
Perhaps more importantly it gave the Mets — and the 40,122 in attendance — some life. The Mets didn’t score again that inning, but they turned a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh into a 4-3 advantage that proved to be the final score.
“I think it woke us up, I really do,” Terry Collins said of Cespedes’ 19th home run.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. The Mets were in the midst of another sorry performance at the plate, and the crowd was stuck in a lull.
Not after that swing.
“We’re obviously going through a bit of a slump as a team right now, but that doesn’t mean we’re not always going to go out there and give the best that we can,” Cespedes said.
Cespedes is used to putting on displays of power. He’s a two-time Home Run Derby champion (2013, 2014) who swings with the ferocity of few others in baseball. When he connects, he hits it hard.
His teammates are no longer surprised by his power.
“We’re not really in shock and awe when he does those type of things, but for him to hit the third deck is pretty impressive,” Neil Walker said. “We wish it was worth more than just a run, but it was definitely a needed run at the time.”
Cespedes said he wasn’t necessarily trying to hit it out. He just wanted to hit it squarely.
“I was waiting for it to come straight, and I just wanted to hit it hard,” he said. “I was going to swing at it whether I hit it hard or not.”
And boy, did he hit it hard. Hard enough to wake up an offense that has had no bark and even less bite in the past several weeks.