Mets right fielder robs home run, steals two bases to set up insurance run
By Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- Every arm at Citi Field went up when Curtis Granderson leaped, including both of Chris Coghlan's. They came down slowly, in disbelief, to rest atop his helmet.
Coghlan couldn't believe Granderson came down with his second-inning drive to right off Noah Syndergaard, a well-struck fly ball that would have given the Cubs a boost after falling behind by three runs. There it was, sailing out with the wind until Granderson went over the wall to bring it back.
The Mets are streaking, confident and inspired after Sunday's 4-1 win over Chicago in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series put them two victories away from their first World Series since 2000. And now Granderson's robbery of Coghlan may have provided their impressive run with a signature defensive play. If nothing else, it capped another strong all-around postseason performance from the right fielder and changed the trajectory of what would have been an instant Chicago rally against Syndergaard. Instead, the Cubs didn't score until the sixth and couldn't rally against New York's bullpen.
"That would have been huge," Coghlan said. "When someone makes a play like that, it's a huge momentum-shifter for them."
"It was great, especially considering it was the first ball I got all series," Granderson said. "To catch one like that, a meaningful one like that and keep a run off the board, it was definitely a big thing for us."
The catch contributed to an impactful night from Granderson on both sides of the ball, and continued his valuable October performance. After singling and scoring in the first inning on Sunday, Granderson has now reached base in all seven games this postseason. His batting average of .375 constitutes the best playoff mark in Mets history for a player with at least 20 at-bats. He stole two bases in the third inning alone -- just the second time he's done that in a game since 2011. The second stolen base put him in position to score on Yoenis Cespedes' infield single, providing an insurance run.
"Both sides of the ball, you've got to play this game on both sides," manager Terry Collins said.
For a roster that saw so much upheaval throughout the season -- which included lengthy disabled-list stints for its stars, various trades and important promotions -- Granderson remained a constant atop the Mets' lineup. He was the only player on the club to collect 500 at-bats. The Mets are the only playoff team without at least two.
Meanwhile, coaches and teammates raved about his steady, upbeat nature throughout his first season in four years that didn't feature significant peaks and valleys.
"He's just been, I'd say, our steadiest player all year," second baseman Daniel Murphy said. "Consistent every single day."
And a big reason the Mets are two wins away from the World Series.
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.