Grandy in midst of power surge at right time
NEW YORK -- It seems Curtis Granderson home runs -- like berries, balloons and honey oats -- come in bunches. The right fielder's leadoff home run accounted for half of the Mets' hit and run output in Friday's 2-1 win over the Reds at Citi Field, once again providing a slight electric spike in what's recently been a flat-line offense.
Granderson is a streaky hitter, not immune to sharp peaks and deep valleys. He appears to be feverishly hot right now. Granderson is hitting .312 since June 4, which is well above his career average of .257 and in stark contrast to the general malaise lingering over the rest of the Mets' lineup. Those numbers burn brighter over the last six games, over which Granderson has hit in all six and at a .380 clip, with four homers in his last 20 at-bats.
Meanwhile, the Mets have scored just 13 runs in their last nine games.
Mets manager Terry Collins laughed when asked what the veteran's bat means to his lineup right now.
"As you can tell, he means a lot," Collins said. "There was a legitimate question asked yesterday about putting him to the middle of the lineup because of the way he's been swinging and driving in runs. Unfortunately, we haven't been swinging and he keeps driving himself in. But what he did tonight is exactly why we have him there."
Granderson belted the third pitch he saw from Reds starter Johnny Cueto, a 1-1 two-seam fastball, into the Pepsi Porch for his team-leading 12th homer. New York produced just one other hit all night, scoring its other run on a Dilson Herrera triple and three Cueto walks.
It was the 32nd leadoff home run of Granderson's career, and eighth in almost 1 1/2 seasons with the Mets. He owns the second most in the Majors since 2006 (Jimmy Rollins, 33).
"He can kick-start an offense to where it gets us right out of the gate with a lead. That's just hugely important," Collins said.
The Mets signed Granderson in the winter of 2013 for his power after Granderson hit 115 home runs over parts of four seasons with the Yankees. Collins has grown accustomed to hitting him leadoff this season because of the veteran's ability to take walks. Granderson's .349 on base percentage ranks just 28th in the National League, but he reached base twice Friday to help the Mets ensure a much-needed win. He also walked against Cueto in the fifth to prolong the go-ahead rally.
"We were able to sneak two across," Granderson said. "That's all we needed tonight."