Granderson gets Mets out of jam with impressive catch
Right fielder's bases-loaded, two-out grab helps keep New York in game
NEW YORK -- The Mets took the first of a four-game series with the Marlins, 7-5, on Thursday by a margin of two runs and just a few inches.
Just a few inches closer down the barrel, and maybe J.T. Realmuto's bases-loaded fly ball off Rafael Montero in the sixth carries a few inches farther over Citi Field's right-field wall.
Just a few inches shorter, and maybe Curtis Granderson doesn't stretch the final few inches necessary to snag Realmuto's drive before smashing into that wall.
"Right field in our park is tough to play, and last year this guy played it as well as anybody I've seen out there," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Granderson, whose precarious sixth-inning play robbed Realmuto of a potential three-run double and kept the Mets within striking distance in a game they eventually won. "Tonight was evidence of that. He made another big play for us."
Inheriting a bases-loaded, tie-game situation from starter Dillon Gee, Montero walked his first batter, Marcell Ozuna, to put the Marlins up 4-3. He then went 2-2 on Realmuto, who sent an outside fastball soaring toward the right-field fence.
Granderson tracked it to the wall and made an impressive catch as his shoulder barrelled into the padding, securing the ball after a slight bobble.
"Unbelievable catch," said former right fielder and current first baseman Lucas Duda.
"It was as good a play as you can have out there," said left fielder Michael Cuddyer. "With what weighed in the balance of that catch, on top of the difficulty of the play, that was tremendous."
Granderson's catch saved Montero and prevented a huge Marlins inning. The Mets took the lead in the bottom of the inning. After Miami tied it in the seventh, the Mets scored two runs in the bottom of that inning to pull ahead for good.
A one-run game stayed that way in the sixth. Just a few more inches could have kept any comeback -- and the eventual win -- out of reach.
"That's exactly why I didn't mess around with right field," Collins said.