ATLANTA -- The New York Mets officially have exceeded even their own expectations.
After completing a sweep of consecutive road series against the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves with a 10-7, 10-inning win in Atlanta on Sunday, the Mets own an 82-61 record. They also own a 9.5-game division lead and a magic number that sits at 11.
“It’s really hard to imagine that we would be sitting where we are right now, even though we thought we had a good team,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “This is far and above what we expected.”
After a sloppy fielding day, the Mets were trailing by three runs and down to their last strike in the top of the ninth. Juan Lagares then battled back to double in his first at-bat in six days. Curtis Granderson followed with a walk and Daniel Murphy launched a game-tying three-run homer. The Mets won it the following frame.
Murphy said he went to the plate trying to hit a homer against Ryan Kelly, which players do not often admit, and which most of the time does not result in a long ball. Murphy added that only once previously had he tried to hit a homer and succeeded -- in the ninth inning against Steve Cishek on April 27 of this season at Miami, which resulted in a 3-1 win.
Murphy’s homer Sunday was the third in franchise history that erased a three-plus-run deficit with the Mets down to their final out. It joined Victor Diaz’s three-run shot against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 25, 2004, and Carl Everett’s grand slam against the Montreal Expos on Sept. 13, 1997.
“I didn’t think I would hit a home run, but I was trying to. I was surprised,” Murphy said.
Murphy credited the batters before him.
“Lagares could have cashed in his at-bat. He gets down two strikes against Peter Moylan and he battles back,” Murphy said. “Grandy puts together another good at-bat. He just keeps stacking good ABs on top of good ABs. That inning was made long before I got up there.”
Murphy acknowledged the Mets were fortunate to win a game in which they had so many subpar fielding plays. Although the play was scored a hit, Murphy failed to field a routine grounder on the backhand and the Braves ultimately tied the score at 4-4 against Tim Stauffer in the seventh.
“I fielded like garbage today,” said Murphy, who is due for a day off on Monday, along with Granderson. “I just didn’t play very well. I didn’t. I was very fortunate that the team even gave me an opportunity in that last inning because I wasn’t playing very well.”
Said Collins: “Our pitchers had to step up. We did not play the best defensive game we’ve ever played. This field is tough.”
With their 82nd win, the Mets now have clinched their first winning season since 2008.
“It’s special because we haven’t done it in a long time here,” Collins said. “We made a commitment last fall that it’s time to win. We’re not done. We’ve got a long way to go yet. I just think it shows the commitment the organization made to make this season be something our fans are excited about. We’ve got 19 more to go, but it’s been pretty fun to watch.”