Mets' resiliency shines through in walk-off win
Duda, Flores deliver two-out RBI hits in 11th to turn away Toronto
NEW YORK -- Michael Cuddyer swears he didn't notice how oddly Toronto's outfield was positioned. Lucas Duda insists he didn't care. Teams shift on Duda all the time, after all, and it's not like he was trying to sky a popup the other way, not far from where a regularly positioned left fielder might have stood.
Duda is simply glad for the result. And the Mets are glad that Cuddyer never slowed on his dash from first base, heading home past third-base coach Tim Teufel's windmill to score the game-tying run.
A batter later, Wilmer Flores punched a walk-off single up the middle, giving the Mets a 4-3 win in 11 innings, snapping the Blue Jays' franchise-record winning streak at 11 and proving, once again, just how resilient this Mets team can be.
"Every now and then we'll take winning a game on a bloop single," manager Terry Collins said. "We'll take it."
For a brief while, Collins knew, it seemed as if the Mets might lose in quite the same wrenching fashion. Despite ex-Blue Jays farmhand Noah Syndergaard's fine outing, which included a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings, a pair of Jose Bautista home runs -- including one off near-unhittable Mets closer Jeurys Familia -- were all the Jays needed to send things to extras. With one out in the 11th, Chris Colabello then dunked a single into right field and Edwin Encarnacion moved from first to third, allowing him to score on Dioner Navarro's sacrifice fly.
But Ruben Tejada sparked the Mets' own rally with a one-out walk in the bottom of the 11th, dancing between first and second long enough to transform Cuddyer's ensuing ground ball from an inning-ending double play into an inning-extending fielder's choice.
That brought up Duda, who has become more adept this season not only at hitting left-handed pitchers such as Brett Cecil, but also at hitting balls to the opposite field. In the 11th, Duda did both, dumping his game-tying popup far enough from Ezequiel Carrera to give Cuddyer ample time to run.
"When you're in that situation, 3-2, two outs, you just bust it until you have to stop," Cuddyer said. "Fortunately, I didn't have to stop."
From there, the walk-off seemed like a formality from a player -- Flores -- who apparently has a knack for these things. Responsible for two of the Mets' four walk-offs this season and three already in his young career, Flores drilled a single up the middle, knifing it through the Blue Jays' defense to halt their win streak at 11.
"We're not giving up," Flores said. "I think that's what good teams do."
Time will tell if the Mets are a great team, but on June 15, exactly 40 percent of their way through the season, it's clear that the Mets are at least good. Despite the offensive inconsistencies that have plagued them all year, they possess a knack for the unexpected and a flair for the dramatic. Perhaps they've even inherited it from their forerunners; eight times in their history, according to Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets have played a team with a winning streak of 11 or more games. On six of those eight occasions, they've snapped it.
"We were just resilient tonight," Duda said.
"I think it's just that -- its resiliency," added Cuddyer. "We're always going to be in the game and give ourselves a chance to win. Whether or not we do, who knows? But you put yourself in that position."