NEW YORK – Before the 2015 World Series started, nobody thought the New York Mets weren’t going to win a game.
In fact, most thought the Mets had just as much of a chance as the Kansas City Royals to win the Fall Classic.
But the way the Royals won the first two games in this best-of-seven series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, many wondered if, indeed, a sweep was in the works.
And when Kansas City grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning last night, many in the sellout crowd at Citi Field probably started to think maybe, just maybe, it was the Royals’ season.
Then David Wright smashed a two-run home run, giving the Mets an early lead. It was a moment the Mets sorely needed. They finally fought back, led by their longest tenured player, and pushed back against the bully on the block.
While the Mets would have taken the blow from any of their players, it was important it came from their down-and-out captain.
“David’s been struggling,” said Mets’ manager Terry Collins. “He doesn’t make any excuses.
“But it was a big hit for him, a big hit for us.”
Added Wright – who committed a big error in Game 1’s loss – “I think to be able to fight back the way that we did, we were relentless tonight. It seemed like every time they had an answer, we had an answer right back. And I think that’s the type of baseball that got us here. To get the momentum back on our side.”
Mets’ fans, in their first postseason game in Citi Field and first World Series game in Queens since 2000, could exhale, breath again.
If the Mets were going down in Game 3 at home, it wasn’t going to be without a fight.
“Given the history of being down 3-0, it was a real big game for us,” said Collins after the 9-3 victory.
The Mets will need more of Friday night if they want to really make this a series. Rookie, and local Long Island kid Steven Matz, starts for the Mets in the biggest game of the team’s season. The pressure is on. “This is where you want to be in baseball,” said Matz, who made his debut four months ago. “This is the dream.”
This isn’t the National League Championship Series where the Mets never trailed and swept the Chicago Cubs with relative ease.
The Royals entered the game winners of 20 of their previous 28 games. They stole Game 1 with a bottom of the ninth-inning homer off closer Jeurys Familia en route to a thrilling fourteen inning victory. In Game 2, the Royals simply laid the wood to the Mets in a blowout win.
The Mets had to feel down, dejected no matter how much they talked about still believing and having hope publicly.
Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard wasn’t lights out or dominant. He simply shook off early struggles and gave the Mets a must-have outing to earn the victory. He allowed three runs on seven hits in six inning of work.
“When we set up the rotation, the way Noah had been pitching, you kind of look at Game 3 as a pivotal … and he delivered,” Collins said. “He came through exactly how we expected him to.”
At one point, Syndergaard retired 12 batters in a row, including the last four via the strikeout. “He just settled in,” Royals’ manager Ned Yost said about Syndergaard.
The Royals are disappointed they couldn’t take a commanding 3-0 lead with a win, especially since they had had Sundergaard on the ropes early.
“I think we can finish off it,” KC starter and loser Yordano Ventura said. “I don’t expect it to go back to Kansas City. We want to finish it here.”
The Mets, of course, want a return trip to Kauffman Stadium. The only way they can guarantee that is with a win in Game 4 Saturday night at Citi Field.
The one twist in Game 3 came as some Mets fans were able to leave a little early before the final out was even recorded.
Indeed, it was the kind of night both the Mets and their fans needed. An easy win will do that.