NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson joined the 300-home run club in a timely fashion.Granderson led off the eighth Wednesday night by launching a tiebreaking homer for No. 300 of his career, and Lucas Duda added a three-run homer in the five-run inning to lift the Mets to a 9-4 victory
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson joined the 300-home run club in a timely fashion.
Granderson led off the eighth Wednesday night by launching a tiebreaking homer for No. 300 of his career, and Lucas Duda added a three-run homer in the five-run inning to lift the Mets to a 9-4 victory over the Cubs and a series win.
New York was able to rally despite an abbreviated outing by starter Matt Harvey, who gave up three home runs in four innings, as well as the loss of Neil Walker to a leg injury. The Mets also had to overcome a 4-1 deficit in what was arguably their best win of the season. With a four-game series against division rival Washington beginning Thursday, New York manager Terry Collins knows taking two of three from Chicago was a big boost for his club.
"This is a big win for us, especially going into tomorrow night," Collins said. "[The Cubs], I know what their record is, but they're still the world champs and they're still a very good team. So to come back against them, I think it was a great win for us."
With the game tied at 4 in the eighth, Granderson drove a 2-2 curveball from C.J. Edwards into the right-field seats for his seventh homer of the season. The veteran outfielder joins eight other active players who have 300 or more homers. With two on and one out against Hector Rondon, Duda hit his 12th home run.
"We definitely had control of that game and gave it up," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
The Cubs continued their own home run derby as Anthony Rizzo and rookie Ian Happ hit back-to-back homers in the first against Harvey, who then retired nine in a row. Jonathan Jay singled with one out in the fourth and Kyle Schwarber followed with a monster shot, sending the ball a Statcast-projected 467 feet to right-center and over the Shea Bridge for a 4-1 lead.
Schwarber's homer was the second-longest homer by a Cubs player this season, trailing only his 470-foot shot on May 23 at Wrigley Field against the Giants.
• Schwarber launches one over Shea Bridge
"It's just barrel -- you know you hit the barrel," Schwarber said when asked if it feels any different hitting a ball that far. "When you hit barrel, you don't feel anything. You see the ball's flight."
The Mets rallied and tied the game at 4 with two outs in the sixth on Juan Lagares' RBI triple over diving center fielder Albert Almora Jr., driving in Granderson, who had walked.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back to back: For the second straight day, Rizzo led off for the Cubs. And for the second straight day, he ambushed the starting pitcher. Rizzo launched the first pitch from Harvey to center field for his 15th home run, and Happ followed with his seventh home run, and second in as many days. Happ -- who hit his first grand slam on Tuesday, one of five Cubs homers that night -- sent Harvey's seventh pitch to right-center field. Rizzo is the first player with leadoff home runs in each of his two career starts at leadoff since Didi Gregorius did so with the D-backs, June 4 and June 6, 2014.
"I'm, statistically, the greatest leadoff hitter of all time," Rizzo said, laughing. "I'd like to retire there and talk smack to everyone who tries to do it. You just go with it, it's fun. ... Statistically, by the books, to lead off the game, I'm the best there ever was -- is -- right now."
• Rizzo knew he'd thrive as leadoff man
Pitching in: The Mets scored their first run in the second on a fielding error by third baseman Kristopher Bryant. In the fourth, the Mets loaded the bases with one out, and Harvey was lifted for pinch-hitter and fellow pitcher Steven Matz, who hit an infield single to shortstop Javier Baez, driving in one run. Lagares followed with a sacrifice fly to pull the Mets to within 4-3. It was Matz's first pinch-hit appearance and his first RBI of the season.
"We got the guys on and I turned around and I looked at [bench coach Dick Scott] and said, 'Please tell me Yoenis Cespedes is ready to hit,'" Collins said of his slugger, who wasn't loose yet. "And he wasn't. So we said, 'Well, we'll just go with Steven Matz.' He saved the manager tonight, I can tell ya."
"We're developing guys and trying to win ballgames at the same time, which most teams don't do. We developed guys last year and won the World Series. You've got to take your lumps. It's baseball. It's a cat and mouse game. They're going to adjust to us, we'll adjust to them. There will be good days and bad days, and everyone knows that. The sun will rise tomorrow, we'll wake up here in [New York City], and then we're going to Pittsburgh." -- Rizzo
"It was really cool to, one, be in a situation to give our team an opportunity to win. Got to give credit to all of the coaches I've had -- [Mets hitting coach] Kevin Long." -- Granderson, on reaching the milestone
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rizzo-Happ combination marks the second time the Cubs have hit back-to-back homers this season, and they're the first to begin a game with consecutive blasts for Chicago since Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot did so on May 13, 2009.
Schwarber's homer was the second longest at Citi Field in the Statcast™ era, one foot shy of Giancarlo Stanton's 468-foot shot. It's also the second hardest-hit home run by Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 113.6 mph.
Granderson's home run was only the second hit off Edwards' curveball this season. Hitters were previously 1-for-27 against it.
With two outs in the Mets' fifth, T.J. Rivera hit a grounder to Baez, who threw to first. Rivera was called out, but the Mets challenged the ruling, and after a review, the call was overturned. Baez was charged with an error.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Walker came up lame halfway to first base, and he eventually collapsed to the ground behind the bag after laying down a sacrifice bunt in the third inning. The Mets announced he left with a left leg injury and will undergo an MRI exam on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the ailing Michael Conforto made his first appearance of the series, pinch-hitting in the sixth and striking out. Cespedes, who had a scheduled off day Wednesday, pinch-hit in the eighth and singled through the right side.
After the game, it was revealed Harvey departed with what Collins called "arm fatigue." He will head to the doctor Thursday to determine if there is a significant injury.
Cubs: After an off-day Thursday in New York, the Cubs will face the Pirates in a three-game series at PNC Park beginning Friday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Eddie Butler will open the series, making his seventh start of the season. He's coming off a loss to the Rockies in which he gave up three runs over five innings. The right-hander needs to keep his pitch count down and go deeper in games.
Mets: After three games against the defending World Series champions, the Mets will welcome the division rival and first-place Nationals on Thursday for the start a four-game series. Robert Gsellman, who sports a 2.16 ERA since he rejoined the rotation (four starts), will get the ball for the Mets. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.