The Mets beat the Dodgers Thursday night in Game 5 of the NLDS to advance to the NLCS against the Cubs. For all the talk of Jacob deGrom vs. Zack Greinke, it was Daniel Murphy who was the hero of the game, giving the Mets the win with his bat and base running.
The Mets jumped out to an early lead against Zack Greinke. Curtis Granderson led off the game with an infield single; he was originally called out on a close play, but instant replay reversed it. With one out Murphy doubled to plate Granderson. He advanced to third when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. But he was left there when Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda struck out.
But the Dodgers answered right back against Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the inning. Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez each singled to put runners on first and third. Justin Turner (remember, he used to play for the Mets?) singled to score one run and Andre Ethier did the same to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
deGrom worked his way in and out of trouble all night. In the second inning the Dodgers got runners to first and second with one out, but deGrom got two strikeouts to end the threat.
It was even dicier in the third. That guy Turner doubled to lead off the inning. With one out he stole third. After a walk, deGrom induced a comebacker, which he turned into an inning ending double play.
The Mets tied it in the third, and you can thank Murphy for it. He led off with a single. With one out, Duda walked. The Dodgers had the shift on for Duda, and no one thought to get over to cover third, so Murphy just took the empty base. It was huge because he then came home on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly to make it 2-2.
deGrom did it again in the fourth. He walked Joc Peterson to lead off the inning. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and third on a fly out. But deGrom struck out Seager to end yet another threat.
With one out in the fifth, it was Turner again, with a sinking fly ball to left. It looked like Michael Conforto wasn’t sure whether to dive or not, and he make an awkward late dive and the ball skipped past him to the wall. It went for a double. But deGrom was able to get the last two outs.
And then Daniel Murphy with the biggest blow of all, a solo home run into the seats in right to give the Mets a 3-2 lead in the sixth. It was his third home run of the series — two off Clayton Kershaw, one off Greinke. Not a bad showing indeed for a guy likely playing his last games with the team.
deGrom came out for the sixth despite 92 pressure-packed pitches through the first five innings, which was a bit of a surprise. Instead of continuing to struggle, he got his first one-two-three inning. He was done after the inning, allowing two runs on six hits, with three walks and seven strikeouts. deGrom did not have his best stuff, but he was able to limit the damage and keep the Mets in the game.
The Mets knocked Greinke out of the game with two on and two out in the seventh. But Luis Avilan retired Granderson to end the inning.
Noah Syndergaard came on for the seventh in his first relief appearance since he was in the Blue Jays system. He allowed a two-out walk to Gonzalez. but he was able to strike out the pesky Turner to end the inning.
Terry Collins called on Jeurys Familia for the two-inning save. He got through the eighth in order, including pinch hitter/Mets killer Jimmy Rollins to end the inning.
Juan Lagares doubled with two outs in the ninth, but the Mets really had no chance to score the insurance run. That’s because the next batter, Wilmer Flores, was intentionally walked to face Familia. In his first at bat of the season, he predictably struck out to end the inning.
As if the game needed more drama, Chase Utley led off the ninth inning as a pinch hitter. He hadn’t played since breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg in Game 2. He flied out to reasonably deep right for the first out. A.J. Ellis was next — he struck out. Howie Kendrick was the last hope for the Dodgers. He struck out to end the game.
Mets win 3-2. Game 1 of the NLCS will be at Citi Field on Saturday. The dream lives.