They went to Flushing to see the phenom, and the phenom was very good, but not great: Mets 24-year-old sensation Matt Harvey allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision. It turns out the phenom is mortal after all. But the New York faithful at Citi Field on Wednesday were still treated to a pretty great show at the yard, even if Harvey wasn’t quite Fernando Valenzuela circa 1981 on this night.
In the bottom of the 10th, with the score 3-3, Jordany Valdespin hit the Mets’ first walk-off grand slam in 22 years — Kevin McReynolds’ walk-off bomb against the Expos on June 25, 1991 was the franchise’s last — when he launched a 90 mph fastball from Josh Wall into the Modell’s Clubhouse in right field. The Mets won 7-3, and on a day when the Nats (with Stephen Strasburg on the mound), the Phillies (despite a gem from Roy Halladay), and the Braves (squandering a two-run ninth inning lead) all lost, the Mets staged a comeback to improve to 10-9. It was a good night in Queens. Here’s the video of Valdespin’s big hit.
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Valdespin had come in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth with men on first and third and two out, with his team down 3-2. The 25-year-old outfiedler grounded out to first base on the first pitch he saw. “That first at bat, he came in and he was disgusted about it,” Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters after the game. “He was saying, ‘I’m jumping at the ball, I’ve got to stay back,’ all the things that hitters say.’”
In his next at bat, facing Wall in the 10th, Valdespin —a player who “relishes that big moment in a game,” says Collins—took two pitches before bludgeoning a fastball from Wall for his first home run of the year. “The first two pitches he took, those were as good as an approach as I’ve seen him take all week,“ Collins told reporters. “He was quiet in the batter’s box, and he looked for something he could hit. He did a good job.”
This game had a little of everything, including one of the best defensive plays of the year: with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the Mets’ Mike Baxter at third, Daniel Murphy popped up near the third base wall. Jerry Hairston Jr. crashed into the railing to make an incredible catch. Check out the video here. It looked like Hairston’s brilliant play would save the game for the struggling Dodgers. But then the next hitter, captain David Wright, tied the game with a single off of Brandon League. And then Valdespin ripped his game-winning grand slam, and sent the faithful home happy.