Mets flex in the Citi, can chase LA tonight on TBS
By Anthony DiComo and Ken Gurnick
NEW YORK -- Nine long years of waiting at an end, they began streaming down from the 7 train platform hours before gametime, wearing jerseys and caps and holding brightly lettered signs, chanting and shouting and ready to explode. Mets fans had waited nearly a decade for a home playoff game, not to mention seven seasons for one at Citi Field.
They found it to be well worth the wait. Curtis Granderson drove home five runs on a pair of doubles, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud homered and the Mets, despite an imperfect outing from Matt Harvey, waltzed to a 13-7 victory over the Dodgers Monday night in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. They now lead the best-of-five series, 2-1, with a chance to close it out Tuesday at Citi Field (8 p.m. ET, TBS).
"This place was rocking," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "It reminded me a lot of Shea Stadium. It got loud and crazy. It seemed like these fans were just losing their minds, which is what you want. That's what gives us such a home-field advantage."
Electricity was apparent from the start of the pregame ceremony, which featured boos for Dodgers infielder Chase Utley and equally rousing cheers for the victim of his Game 2 takeout slide, Ruben Tejada. But aside from some "We want Utley!" chants late in the game, even that storyline melted away after Granderson cleared the bases with his second-inning double off Dodgers starter Brett Anderson, who lasted just three innings and allowed six runs.
"I thought he looked good the first inning," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Anderson. "Ball was coming out of his hand pretty good early. Obviously the second was not as good; threw the ball up more. And the third, you were kind of just hoping there that he has a chance to kind of find a groove and give you some innings right through there, but obviously it kind of ended. We couldn't get out of that inning."
By the fourth, the Mets were piling on against Alex Wood, while Harvey was cruising to victory in his first career playoff start. He gave up three runs in five innings, two of them on a Yasmani Grandal single and the third on a Granderson throwing error.
Now facing first-round elimination for the second straight postseason, the Dodgers will look to send the series back to Los Angeles for a decisive Game 5 behind Clayton Kershaw, who will start Game 4 on short rest. Steven Matz will pitch for the Mets.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Grandy takes back the lead: The Mets were trailing, 3-1, when Granderson came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, drilling a first-pitch fastball over center fielder Kiké Hernandez's head. That cleared the bases and sent the sold-out Citi Field crowd into a frenzy, giving the Mets a lead they would never relinquish. More >
"When I hit it, I knew I hit it -- but definitely not that good," Granderson said. "I knew it was toward the center of the field and Kiké out there is pretty fast out there in center. So I was just hoping it got down and got the ground, and it ended up hitting the wall."
Ending the skid: Grandal's two-run single in the Dodgers' three-run second inning snapped an 0-for-26 skid that included 0-for-4 in Game 2, giving them their only lead of the night. He registered only three RBIs after Aug. 9 while dealing with a sore left shoulder.
"That's the spot I want to be in," he said. "I like playing under pressure, the atmosphere here. I was glad to help put us on top. We've been swinging the bat good, putting up seven tonight. For Kershaw and [Zack] Greinke, we only need to score one or two."
Super Cespedes: If there was any doubt as to the outcome of the game, Cespedes obliterated it with a three-run homer off Wood in the fourth. Coming off the bat at 111 mph, according to Statcast™, Cespedes' homer -- his third hit of the night -- gave the Mets a 10-3 lead. More >
"This guy's electrifying on the field," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He can do anything he wants, and that kind of hustle shows that he's determined to let us ride his back. He's a dangerous player."
Howie does it: Howie Kendrick singled in the seventh inning and slugged a three-run homer in the ninth, leaving him 5-for-13 in the series with four RBIs.
"The greatest retaliation is winning the game." -- Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer on the Mets' lack of physical retaliation for Utley's slide in Game 2
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets set a franchise postseason record with 13 runs, the most by any team since the Dodgers tagged the Braves for 13 in 2013 NLDS Game 3. That was in large part due to Granderson, whose five RBIs tied a Mets single-game postseason record. The second-largest crowd in Citi Field history, 44,276, was on hand to witness it.
Umpires called for a crew chief review to determine whether a fan interfered with Kendrick's three-run homer in the ninth, which brought the Dodgers back within 13-7. A brief look at the video was all the crew needed to uphold the call.
The Dodgers also challenged second-base umpire Gary Cederstrom's safe call on Juan Lagares as he tagged from first to second base on Michael Conforto's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. After a review, that call also stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: For the third time in a postseason game, Kershaw will start on three' days rest at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday after making 112 pitches in a Game 1 loss. He allowed a fourth-inning leadoff home run to Daniel Murphy, then left with two out in the seventh inning and the bases loaded before two runs scored on Wright's single off Pedro Baez.
Mets:Matz will make his postseason debut with a chance to clinch for the Mets, who will host the Dodgers in Game 4. Matz, who skipped his final regular-season start due to upper-back discomfort, and nearly lost his NLDS roster spot because of it, has not pitched since Sept. 24. Matz will become the third rookie to start a postseason game for the Mets, joining teammate Noah Syndergaard, who pitched Game 2.