Two-run homer ends game in thrilling fashion inning after Wright exits
NEW YORK -- Eric Young Jr. stood in front of his locker, remnants of whipped cream still in his hair and the side of his face. After delivering the Mets' biggest hit of the night, a two-run walk-off home run to beat the Royals 4-2, Young gave his team something to feel good about.
A win that broke a two-game skid, and a win that snapped Kansas City's nine-game winning streak. But there was still a pall cast over Friday night's victory at Citi Field as the Mets could be without David Wright for the foreseeable future.
"I think it was big," Young said of his home run and the win. "Obviously with our captain going down, not sure the extent of his injury and how long he's going to be out. It definitely was a pickup for everybody, including myself."
Young's homer, which earned him a celebratory pie in the face from his teammates, came off Royals reliever Luis Mendoza in the 11th to give the Mets a respite from an injury that could have lingering effects.
Dillon Gee pitched another stellar start, allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts over seven innings, but his performance fell to the wayside when David Aardsma blew the save in the ninth inning.
"A little bit of everything. Just trying to keep them off balance, throw good pitches when I had to," Gee said. "It worked out, it was an exciting game."
It didn't have to be quite that exciting for the Mets, who went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, continuously missing opportunities to take a comfortable lead. The Mets are 2-for-23 with runners in scoring position in their last three games.
Their futility nearly cost them Friday's game after Aardsma couldn't nail down the save.
Pinch-hitter Miguel Tejada led off the top of ninth inning with a double, and then Alcides Escobar walked. Elliot Johnson then moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt. The Mets intentionally walked Royals pinch-hitter Billy Butler, which brought up Lorenzo Cain.
Cain came through for Kansas City, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Tejada to score and tie the game at 2.
"We do it all the time," Johnson said. "It seems like we really put things together in the late innings. It's the early innings that give us some trouble sometimes, whether we win or lose."
The Mets lost the lead in the ninth, but lost their best player in the 10th. Leading off the inning, Wright hit a ground ball up the middle. Tejada ranged to his right to field it, but his throw sailed high, though Wright likely would've been safe even if the throw was on the mark.
Wright, who nursed a sore hamstring during the week, came up lame as he crossed first base. Mets manager Terry Collins and a trainer immediately came out to attend to Wright before the third baseman left the game.
"He just wanted to get extended to help us try to win a baseball game," Collins said. "That's what he's all about."
Wright will undergo an MRI on Saturday. A team spokesman said he suffered a strained right hamstring.
Not having Wright in their lineup would certainly be a tough blow for the Mets. He put them ahead, 2-0, with a two-run home run off Royals starter Wade Davis in the first inning. Wright's 16th homer of the season was his 220th of his career, tying him with Mike Piazza for second place on the Mets' all-time list
After that home run, the Mets couldn't muster up much more offense until Young's homer in the 11th. Young said the win does carry extra satisfaction, considering the Royals had been on such a tear.
"Definitely they're coming in, obviously a pride thing you don't want them to continue their hot streak against you," Young said. "I'm glad we stopped that the first game."
Pedro Feliciano, pitching in the Major Leagues for the first time since 2010, and Carlos Torres combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to hold the Royals down. Torres earned the victory.
New York had opportunities to win the game much earlier than the 11th inning.
In the fourth inning, Ike Davis, who finished 3-for-3 with a walk, and Omar Quintanilla each singled, and then Young legged out an infield single to load the bases.
But Juan Lagares, hitting in the second spot in the order as a part of a shuffling of the lineup, flew out to right field to strand the bases loaded.
The Mets missed another opportunity in the ninth, when Davis led off with a double to right field. Lagares grounded out to second base with runners at second and third.
Those missed chances didn't hurt quite as much for the Mets once Young came through with his two-out homer following Quintanilla's one-out walk.
Wright's injury, though, might hurt both him and the Mets beyond Friday night.
"We definitely needed our spirits boosted up with the captain going down," Young said.
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com.