By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
The Mets used a new lineup on Sunday against the Padres, with the main change being Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot, and it resulted in a 3-1 win.
Granderson hit in the leadoff spot for the first time this season. It paid off instantly when he opened the game with a mammoth home run into the Pepsi Porch in right field on the second pitch he saw from San Diego starter Ian Kennedy.
Granderson had a good game after that, as he got a single and two walks. It was his first start since Wednesday, as he has missed time with a calf injury.
Granderson said of returning to the lineup, "It's great just to get back out there. We talked about it a couple of days ago, Terry just saying we're gonna rest a couple of days, we don't want this to turn from something that can be avoided in two, three days to something that can take much longer than that, so got a little bit of rest.
On leading off, Granderson said, "It helped today, and Terry talked about it yesterday, just trying to get myself on base and try to get the team going, keep things going. We scored another run in that first inning (after the leadoff home run) and it ended up being enough for us."
Mets Manager Terry Collins put his four best hitters at the top, with Daniel Murphy (.299 average), David Wright (.262) and Bobby Abreu (.308) hitting after Granderson.
Collins said of Granderson hitting leadoff, "We had a chance to do some major damage in the first, but Curtis getting us out of the gate was huge for us and, you talk about being professional, I went to him and said "You've been hitting fourth pretty much the whole time, and said, listen, I have to slip you back into the leadoff spot and he said 'fine,' and I said, 'you're also playing center, so if that leg cramps up, let me know early.'"
Collins said of Sunday's game, "This was a big win for us. With the way things have gone here lately, to come out of here, especially with the way the first inning started, I told Dan (Warthen), we have to add some runs today because tomorrow I don't know what we're gonna have, so to win this game today is really a boost for everyone on the ballclub, some big hits by a couple of guys."
Starting Monday night, the Mets begin a stretch in which 14 of their next 16 games are on the road It starts with a seven-game road trip, with three games at the St. Louis Cardinals and a four-game set with the Miami Marlins starting on Thursday. They return home for just two games with the Oakland A's on June 24th and 25th before hitting the road for another seven-game trip with four in Pittsburgh starting on June 26th and three in Atlanta on June 30th.
Collins said of the Cardinals, "We're going on the road, will continue to play as hard as we can and hopefully get on top of them because you have to get on top of the Cardinals. You can't let them get on top of you with the pitching they have."
Anthony Recker said of the fact that they're not much out of it, "Absolutely not, last I saw we're just five and a half games out, and to get a win today, I think that's awesome."
Recker said of making a statement in St. Louis, "That would be great. We're going to go in there ready to play. St. Louis, obviously a good team, and I think they're starting to hit their stride a little bit, they're playing better lately. We're going to have to bring our best baseball, hopefully it matches up well."
Recker did a great job on Sunday, guiding the bullpen through eight innings. That could lead to a lot of time behind the plate on this road trip.
On if Sunday's game could show Collins that he has starting potential, Recker said, "I would love to think so. I think I've done a pretty good job behind the plate, I have to just start swinging the bat better."
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