NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson became the first Mets player in club history to hit homers that both tied and won the game in extra innings on Saturday night, giving his club a 3-2, 12-inning victory over the Twins at Citi Field in a contest that had playoff implications for New York.
Byron Buxton homered to lead off the top of the 11th against Mets reliever Hansel Robles and Granderson answered in the bottom of the inning with an opposite-field shot to left off Minnesota's Brandon Kintzler. Granderson then homered with two outs in the 12th against Ryan O'Rourke, a left-hander who had just come into the game to counter the lefty-swinging Granderson. It was the third walk-off homer of his career.
It was only the second homer O'Rourke has given up to a left-handed hitter in his 49th appearance over two years. Left-handers were previously 0-for-18 against him this year.
"I think it's the first time I've ever done it," said Granderson, referring to the homers in consecutive extra innings. "Somebody just asked me about it. It's really cool to have it happen and help us out at this point."
Both Minnesota runs scored on home runs, with Eddie Rosario hitting his out in the fourth inning off Mets starter Seth Lugo, who pitched five innings, allowing four hits and the single run. The homer into the right-field seats was Rosario's 10th of the season. Buxton's homer in the 11th was his seventh.
"You look for the ability to win these close games," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Granderson just had a great night."
The Mets are now tied with the Giants at 79-69 for the National League's top Wild Card spot with 14 regular-season games remaining after the Cardinals came from behind in the ninth to beat the Giants in San Francisco. However, the Mets do hold the tiebreaker with the Giants, so if the two teams finished tied and ahead of the Cardinals, the NL Wild Card Game would be held at Citi Field. The Mets and Giants are both two games ahead of the Cardinals.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rally caps:Ryan Pressly replaced Santana in the eighth inning and immediately allowed a Jose Reyes single. Reyes moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera grounder. With first base open, Molitor had the option of walking Cespedes intentionally and pitching to Granderson. Pressly pitched to Cespedes, who tied the game with a single to center.
Bull Dozier:Brian Dozier might have racked up a hit in his 21st consecutive game (a third-inning infield single), but his fourth-inning at-bat was a bigger one for the Mets, as Lugo struck him out swinging with runners on second and third to end a huge threat. The 21-game hitting streak is the longest by a Twin since Ben Revere hit in 21 straight in 2012.
Santana's long seventh: The Twins starter cruised through the first 6 2/3 innings on 88 pitches, but he had to work out of a bases-loaded jam after a two-out double was followed by two walks in the seventh. While he got out of the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Michael Conforto, the extra work ran his pitch count to 104 and forced Molitor to go to the bullpen.
"The slider is probably my best pitch, so I was going to go with that. After two of them, I thought maybe a fastball would surprise him. When it got to 3-2, I threw my best, and he beat me." -- O'Rourke, who gave up the game-winning home run on a slider
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Granderson's homers gave the Mets 201 on the season, breaking the club record set in 2006.
Granderson became the second player in history to hit game-tying and walk-off home runs in consecutive innings in extra innings, joining John Mayberry Jr., who accomplished the feat for the Phillies against the Marlins on June 4, 2013, with a solo homer in the 10th and a walk-off grand slam in the 11th.
The only other player in history to hit homers in consecutive extra innings was Art Shamsky, who did so for the Reds against the Pirates on Aug. 12, 1966, in the 10th and 11th innings. But the Pirates won that game.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Rosario left the game in the 10th inning with a jammed left thumb, sustained while diving headfirst into first base trying to beat out a ground ball. He'll be re-examined Sunday morning, but isn't expected to play in Sunday's series finale. While there was some concern that he may have broken the thumb, Rosario said he doesn't think that's the case.
"It hurts, but I'm fine," Rosario said through an interpreter. "I can do all movements with my fingers, so I think I got lucky."
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: RIght-hander Kyle Gibson goes after his second straight win in Sunday's 12:10 p.m. CT series finale at Citi Field.
Mets: With Jacob deGrom scratched and out for the season because of ulnar nerve issues in his right elbow, the Mets will close the three-game series against the Twins in a 1:10 p.m. ET start with right-hander Gabriel Ynoa making his first Major League start. He'll be the Mets' 11th starting pitcher this season.