Left fielder gets three hits, scores three runs in win
By Mark Bowman
NEW YORK -- Given how quickly he endeared himself to Mets fans over the regular season's final two months, it probably should not have been surprising to see Yoenis Cespedes take advantage of the opportunity to delight this same group yet again in the first postseason game ever played at Citi Field.
Cespedes highlighted the first three-hit postseason game of his career with a three-run, fourth inning home run that helped the Mets gain all the comfort they needed to secure a 13-7 win over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night.
After the game, the Cuban outfielder credited the setting created by the 44,276 fans who saw the Mets move one win away from clinching this best-of-five series and earning a spot in the National League Championship Series.
"I don't think I have ever played at home for my team with this many fans in the stands," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "It didn't happen in Oakland. It didn't happen in Detroit. It didn't happen in Boston. I think it's something that really added to how well we played."
Cespedes fueled the energy when he responded to the three runs the Dodgers scored in the top of the second inning by beginning the bottom half of the inning with an infield hit -- the first of four straight singles that set the stage for New York to tally four second-inning runs of its own and claim the lead for good.
"When we were in Los Angeles for Game 1, I walked by just to say something to him, and he said, 'It's time to play,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He shows you what he can do. This guy's electrifying on the field. He can do anything he wants, and that kind of hustle shows that he's determined to, again, to get us on, let us ride his back, and he's a dangerous player."
After sparking the Mets with his speed and hustle in the second inning, Cespedes capped his productive evening by displaying some of that power that helped him collect 17 homers in the 57 games he played after joining New York. His three-run homer off Alex Wood in the fourth inning was a monstrous shot that landed in the second deck beyond the left-field wall. According to Statcast™, the homer had an exit velocity of 111 mph and traveled a projected 431 feet.
Cespedes became the first Mets player to homer in consecutive postseason games since John Olerud during the 1999 NLCS. He has now recorded a multi-hit game in five of his 13 career postseason games.
"Home runs mean a lot," Collins said. "I mean, they get guys excited. They get the team excited. You know, the fan base loves home runs. And our team's built on power. So when we hit home runs, we think we got a big chance to win. It's all about trying to get on base, and then have somebody up there that can hit something into the seats. And when we do that, we win games."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.