LA-Mets series has October feel for Uribe
Veteran infielder delivers walk-off single in 10th to secure split for New York
NEW YORK -- Juan Uribe gave his new team something to celebrate Sunday, when one swing catapulted the Mets to a 3-2, walk-off victory over the Dodgers at Citi Field. And the two-time World Series champion spiced up the postgame conversation by saying this July series split with first-place Los Angeles had an October feel.
"This moment is like playing in the playoffs or World Series and you are winning," said Uribe, who won titles with the White Sox in 2005 and the Giants in 2010.
Acquired Friday from the Braves, Uribe and Kelly Johnson were brought in to help balance out a team that leaned almost exclusively on its pitching over the first 97 games. Both played major roles in their first two games in New York, with Uribe's RBI single with one out in the 10th off Kenley Jansen saving the Mets from what would have been their second devastating late-inning loss this week.
At 51-48, New York is once again just two games back of the first-place Nationals and appears to be hitting its stride. The influx of new names, including 22-year-old outfielder Michael Conforto, has given the roster a facelift full of grit, spunk and offensive production.
"They're getting a fresh start on a team that's in the pennant race," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That brings energy."
Conforto followed Saturday's four-hit night with two big at-bats Sunday, one of which resulted in an RBI hit-by-pitch. Johnson started in the cleanup spot all weekend, homering Saturday in New York's 15-2 barrage.
Uribe twice entered as a defensive replacement and twice made a spectacular defensive play: Saturday on a sharp grounder and Sunday barehanding a slow roller. He singled in his Mets debut Saturday and enjoyed a postgame cigar in celebration. On Sunday he sent a rocket off the wall in left-center when New York needed it most.
"That ball was mashed," Collins said. "That's why we got him. That's what he will bring to this team, along with Kelly, that veteran big league bat the other team has to be concerned about."
Afterward, another cigar waited in Uribe's locker.
"Today I can go home and be happy," he said.
Traded by the Dodgers in May, Uribe spent the weekend surrounded by familiar faces despite residing in an unfamiliar clubhouse. He routinely chatted up his old teammates, many of whom Uribe won two consecutive NL West titles with. The 15-year veteran has been to the postseason five times, leaving him aware of what it takes for a team to get there. He sees the talent on the Mets and isn't ruling out a run.
"You never know," Uribe said.
On Sunday he helped that new team take a step in that direction.
"To have a game blown and to come back and win," Collins said. "I think that will lift their spirits immensely."