Walk off hit by Granderson gives Mets win over Marlins as they look to build on wins like this

Rich Mancuso

New York –   The New York Mets tried so many times last season to win a game in their last at bat. More than once, they came up short. Friday night at Citi Field they won their second game in their last five in their last at bat. And it was Curtis Granderson, again who was mobbed at home plate after a walk-off ninth inning single that gave New York a 4-3 win, over the Miami Marlins.

Granderson, off to one of the worse starts of his career hit three hard-hit balls in his past three games, and they have all been hits. This walk-off hit was also another dramatic late game win for New York, as they have rallied for nine of their 13 wins, including two when trailing after eight innings.  

 Gonzalez German, out of the pen, put the Marlins ahead giving up consecutive two-out home runs in the eighth inning. But, these 2014 Mets, as manager Terry Collins said, “Do grind. The walk-off, it can become a habit because they have character and don’t quit…Hope we can dwell on this and the ninth inning can become exciting.”

He added, “It’s going to take a maximum effort.  These, kind of games like tonight you can build on these things. They look forward to do it again, that attitude.”

And if Granderson can get his bat going, with Mets starters owing a 1.81 ERA, in their last 11 games, they could make the skeptics believe that this team is capable of winning 90 games. That number was a major point coming from the GM, Sandy Alderson during spring training. Collins apparently kept that number in mind. His team is 13-10, three games over .500 for the first time since they were 7-4 after play on April 13th of last season.

“I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer,” said Granderson. “Anytime you get a chance to win and jump up and down with your teammates, it's a good thing. He came to the plate with a .130 average. Collins said, he does not know much about a Granderson history of struggles at the plate, but he is seeing a difference.

And that can only help the Mets, if the Granderson bat gets going.  “A little more selection at the plate, better swings, all good signs, hitting the ball on the barrel,” commented Collins who has the free agent acquisition batting third in the order.

What made the win more dramatic was how the Mets did it off the reliable Marlins closer Steve Cishek who had 33 consecutive saves, longest streak in baseball. Lucas Duda led off with a single, Travis d’Arnaud sent him to second on a bunt, and after pinch hitter Bobby Abrey lined out to left for the second out, it was up to Omar Quintanilla.

“Q”, referred to by his teammates, in the seventh inning was a part of a double switch with German.  And he came up big off Cishek, hitting a 4-3 slider to left that scored Duda that tied the score at 2-2. But, Duda could have been out had Christian Yelich not fell when he fielded the ball.

Said Quintanilla, who has become a reliable backup to Ruben Tejada at Short “My role is to go out there and be ready. I’m ready whenever…. It’s tough especially when the game is 2-1. You’re in the bottom of the ninth. The situation is crazy. Just got to go out there, relax. Just go out and battle.  We got a lot of season to go.”

He was expecting a back door slider.

But it came down to that last out, something that Collins has come to understand from this team. They do what they have to do to win ballgames, and at home, where the Mets have not been impressive Pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled and advanced Quintanilla to third.

That set up Granderson for the big moment, and he got the pie in the face, not shaving cream when his single got past Garrett Jones at first base.

These are the situations that did not occur much for the Mets last season, or the one before. And though Zach Wheeler did not get a win or loss, his fifth start was his best. He struck out ten in six innings, walked three and gave up four singles. David Wright got an RBI single and Daniel Murphy drove him in for the Mets first two runs.

But it came down to the ninth inning that eventually gave Jeurys Familia his first win, after pitching a scoreless frame. New York has won five of their last six games, three straight.  April and the first month of a long season that is looking successful, could be the start of something more to come.

Quintanilla said, the hit was one of the top moments in his on-and-off role in New York. And, he expects he, and his team to keep it going. After a win like this, the Mets look for more dramatics two more times against the Marlins before hitting the road again.

“The team is looking good,” he said. “We just have to go at it day- by- day. Around this clubhouse we have talented players. The way it’s going now, just keep it going and it’s going to be a fun season.”

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