NEW YORK -- Though the outcome might have tarnished some of the longstanding significance, those who saw Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson crash into Citi Field's center-field wall on Wednesday night will have no problem considering the catch to be among the greatest in postseason history.
Granderson's tremendous effort ultimately went unrewarded as Madison Bumgarner's four-hit shutout sent the Mets to a 3-0 loss to the Giants in the National League Wild Card Game. But baseball fans will long remember the catch Granderson made to prolong Noah Syndergaard's own bid for a shutout.
With two outs and Denard Span on second base in the sixth inning, Granderson sprinted toward the 408-foot sign in center field and robbed Brandon Belt of a go-ahead extra-base hit with a catch he secured before crashing into the wall.
"It was a tough one," Granderson said. "I was just trying to get back there and reel it in. As I looked up, I still had a shot to make a catch and reel it in. Luckily, it was the third out, so I didn't have to get up and make a play after that."
According to Statcast™, Belt generated a 105.9-mph exit velocity and a 25-degree launch angle as he hit Syndergaard's 97.9-mph fastball a projected distance of 408 feet. That combination of exit velocity and launch angle produced a .971 batting average and a home run 91 percent of the time this season.
But Granderson defied the odds as he generated a quick first step (0.17 seconds), reached a top speed of 18.2 mph and covered 102 feet with a 96.9 percent route efficiency. This was the furthest he traveled to make a catch as a center fielder this season on a ball with a hang time of less than six seconds.
"It was unbelievable," Mets right fielder Jay Bruce said. "Honestly, I thought it was going to go over his head. At first, I thought it was maybe going to go out."
Granderson had not played center field on a regular basis since 2012. But he reacquainted himself with the position late this season after a quad injury led Yoenis Cespedes to request to move to left field.
"He has done whatever is asked of him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's gone out and played center field and did a great job of it. That was an unbelievable play."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.