NEW YORK (CBSLA.com/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 New York public enemy Chase Utley watched from the Los Angeles bench. The NL East champs quickly erased an early three-run deficit and made a winner of a mediocre Matt Harvey in his playoff debut.
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 in Game 4.
Trying to save the Dodgers’ season, ace lefty Clayton Kershaw will start on three days’ rest. Hometown rookie Steven Matz goes for the Mets.
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.
“This is too big a game. We need to not worry about retaliating,” Collins said. “We need to worry about winning. … We can play angry, but we’ve got to play under control.”
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.
Los Angeles lefty Brett Anderson took the loss, tagged for six runs and seven hits in three ineffective innings.
Granderson’s five RBIs matched a Mets postseason record set by Carlos Delgado in Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS at St. Louis, when New York set its previous postseason high with 12 runs.
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 hungering for payback against Utley, left out of the lineup despite strong career numbers versus Harvey (6 for 18 with a home run).
Regular starter Howie Kendrick remained at second base, and Dodgers manager Don 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 playing Mets nemesis for 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.
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 fan-favorite sub Wilmer 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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