NEW YORK (AP) — With big hits rather than beanballs, the New York Mets wiped out the Los Angeles Dodgers and took control of their testy Division Series.
Curtis Granderson drove in five runs with two doubles off the wall, Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes homered, and New York’s dangerous bats busted loose for a 13-7 victory Monday night that gave the Mets a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five NL playoff.
Before a bloodthirsty crowd of 44,276 in the first postseason game at Citi Field, the Mets broke their postseason scoring record as public enemy No. 1 Chase Utley watched from the Los Angeles bench. New York quickly erased an early three-run deficit and made a winner of a mediocre Matt Harvey in his playoff debut.
“The greatest retaliation is winning,” Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.
Back in the postseason for the first time in nine years, New York can reach the NL Championship Series with another win at home Tuesday night behind rookie pitcher Steven Matz.
Trying to save the Dodgers’ season, ace Clayton Kershaw will start on three days’ rest in Game 4.
“I’m always pretty confident when he’s pitching,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Utley is the subject of scorn in New York after his late takeout slide Saturday night broke the right leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada at Dodger Stadium.
Amid much speculation the Mets would seek revenge, manager Terry Collins said before the game Harvey was told not to.
“I think the boos at the introductions were kind of a big statement,” Harvey said. “For us it was stay focused, go out and let our play do all the talking and, you know, all that stuff will be resolved later.”
Collins said both teams met with Commissioner Rob Manfred and he instructed them to play “correctly.” Umpires did not issue any warnings prior to the first pitch.
“I thought our guys responded very, very well,” Collins said.
In the end, Utley never got in the game and the Mets saved all their hard hits for when they were at the plate.
Harvey labored through five innings in his first outing since missing a mandatory postseason workout and apologizing after he arrived.
“He worked harder tonight to give us five quality innings than I have seen him work at any time,” Collins said.
Los Angeles lefty Brett Anderson, who went back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter over Utley’s suspension Sunday night, took the loss. He was tagged for six runs and seven hits in three ineffective innings.
Granderson’s five RBIs matched a Mets postseason record last accomplished by Carlos Delgado in Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS at St. Louis, when New York established its previous postseason high of 12 runs.
Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick homered late for the Dodgers, who peppered Harvey with four consecutive singles in the second inning to build a 3-0 lead with the aid of Granderson’s throwing error from right field.
Yasmani Grandal’s base hit knocked in two runs and snapped slumps of 0 for 26 and 4 for 88, the latter dating to Aug. 9.
But the Mets responded right away in the bottom half after Dodgers shortstop — and longtime New York nemesis — Jimmy Rollins took his time throwing to first on Cespedes’ infield single.
“By the time I got around, he was busting down the line,” Rollins said. “So, he did his part and he beat me.”
That got the NL East champs started, and d’Arnaud broke out of his own slump with an RBI single. Granderson launched a three-run double that banged off the right-center fence near the 380-foot sign and put the Mets in front for good.
Anderson hung a changeup in the third that d’Arnaud pulled for a two-run homer.
“Mainly, two pitches cost us the game,” Anderson said. “Just embarrassing on my part.”
Cespedes took a long, admiring look at his three-run drive in the fourth off Alex Wood that soared into the second deck in left field and traveled an estimated 431 feet. The slugger tossed his bat high in the air before beginning his trot around the bases.
By then, the Mets had a 10-3 lead and fans turned their focus to chanting “We want Utley!” and “Where is Utley?”
“This place was rocking,” Mets captain David Wright said. “It reminded me a lot of Shea Stadium when it got loud and crazy. It seemed like these fans were just losing their minds, which is what you want.”
Cespedes and d’Arnaud each finished with three runs, three RBIs and three of New York’s 13 hits. Juan Lagares also scored three times in his first start of the series.
Seven seasons after it opened, Citi Field was trimmed in traditional postseason bunting for the Mets’ first home playoff game since Carlos Beltran took strike three from Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright to end the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium.
Revved-up fans showed up early hungry for payback against Utley, left out of the lineup despite strong career numbers versus Harvey (6 for 18 with a home run).
Kendrick, the regular starter, remained at second base, and Mattingly said Utley was on the bench not for safety but solely “baseball reasons.”
Utley was eligible to play after appealing a two-game suspension for his slide, deemed illegal after a review by Major League Baseball.
As loud boos rang out during pregame introductions, Utley stared stone-faced straight into the lens while a camera lingered on his face for a few extra seconds.
The 7 Line Army and other fans waving orange towels brought cutouts with Utley’s face in the bull’s-eye of a target. One sign near the first base dugout read: “Chase Ugly Is Still Philthy,” a nod to his 12-plus years with rival Philadelphia. And even New York Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, calling Utley “guilty as sin.”
Meanwhile, Tejada raised his fist to a rousing ovation when he was introduced in full uniform alongside teammates. With a walking boot and Mets cane, he hobbled out to the baseline as fans — some carrying “WinForRuben” signs with his face on them — chanted the shortstop’s name.
“It got us on fire,” substitute shortstop Wilmer Flores said. “We’ve got Ruben’s back.”
Just as Harvey got set to throw first pitch, there was more confusion. Mattingly and Collins each huddled with umpires during a 5-minute delay because the replay phone in the Dodgers’ dugout was on the fritz.
In the middle of the first inning came an announcement that the line was fully operational.
And perhaps fittingly, Kendrick, the first batter of the game, hit a grounder to shortstop — where the fan-favorite Flores fielded it flawlessly on his backhand.
Dodgers: Kershaw has dropped five consecutive postseason decisions, the longest skid in Dodgers history. He was outpitched by Jacob deGrom in a 3-1 defeat at Los Angeles in the series opener. The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two playoff starts on short rest the past two seasons.
Mets: Matz is a hometown favorite after growing up on Long Island about 50 miles from Citi Field. He went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six major league starts this season but hasn’t pitched since Sept. 24 because of a balky back. To sharpen up, he threw approximately 90 pitches during a simulated game Thursday in Florida and worked off the main mound at Citi Field on Sunday. “Really trying to take the emotions out of it,” he said Monday. “I have a job to do.”
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