'Relentless' Mets offense gets back on track
NEW YORK -- In 44 hours between being on the wrong end of Johnny Cueto's complete game in Game 2 of the World Series and Friday's 9-3 win in Game 3, Mets manager Terry Collins said hitting coaches Kevin Long and Pat Roessler pushed a consistent message: Stay with what has got us here, and it's going to work.
"Tonight," Collins said a few hours before Game 3, "we need to get it going."
Get it going they did, hitting as many home runs in the first three innings Friday as they had hits in all nine innings of Game 2. David Wright's two-run home run in the first inning provided a spark, Curtis Granderson's two-run blast in the third provided a lead for good, and Collins' decision to keep the lineup intact paid off to the tune of 12 hits, nine runs and a renewed sense of optimism at sold-out Citi Field.
The Mets still trail in the best-of-seven series two games to one but will try to carry that optimism into Game 4 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time on FOX).
The 12 hits are the most since they tallied 13 in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers and their most runs in a World Series game since a 10-7 win over the A's in Game 2 in 1973.
After batting .220 as a team in Games 1 and 2, the Mets went 12-for-36 in front of the home crowd Friday.
"We were relentless tonight," Wright said. "And it seemed like every time [the Royals] had an answer, we had an answer right back. I think that's the type of baseball that got us here, that immediate answer. Might not be getting all the runs back, but to get the momentum back on our side was big."
Wright, the Mets' captain, provided the night's first big moment. After the Royals struck first against a shaky Noah Syndergaard, Granderson led off the bottom of the first inning with a single before Wright connected with a Yordano Ventura fastball and sent it over the left-field wall.
It gave the Mets a 2-1 lead and instantly doubled their scoring output from two days earlier in Game 2.
"Running around the bases, it's just like floating," Wright said. "You can't describe the excitement of hitting the home run, crossing home plate, high-fiving your teammates, and looking up and seeing people going absolutely nuts. It's one of those memories, at least for me, that will stick with me for the rest of my life."
More memories followed. Nine Mets contributed a hit, including two apiece for Granderson, Wright and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Wright finished with four RBIs, the first Met with that many in the World Series since Rusty Staub drove in five runs in Game 4 in 1973. Granderson scored three runs.
Even Juan Uribe contributed, coming off the bench for his first at-bat since Sept. 25 and delivering a run-scoring single.
"I think we're still working on getting comfort," Granderson said. "That's the battle, especially when you're against a tough team like the Kansas City Royals, a pitching staff that does amazing things. And they bring all their weapons at any time, no matter who you're facing."
The Mets chased Ventura from the game after 3 1/3 innings and five earned runs, but didn't break the game open until a four-run sixth inning. In it, the Mets looked a lot like the Royals, cobbling together a rally with three singles, a walk, a hit batsman and a fielder's choice that will haunt Royals reliever Frankin Morales, who froze after fielding Granderson's comebacker and couldn't get an out anywhere on the bases.
Instead of an inning-ending double play, the Mets had a big rally. Wright cashed in with a two-run single and Yoenis Cespedes added a sacrifice fly to make it a six-run advantage.
"You know, we live and die with home runs, for sure, no question. But when you string hits together, as they did in both games against us [in Kansas City], you can score runs," Collins said. "In the World Series you're going to keep it close or hopefully break it open with some of those singles. I thought there were some big hits in the game throughout and hopefully this is -- in our park, that our offense gets it going the next two nights."