NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Mets, stinging from a costly loss, mauled the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers 13-7 on Monday to move within one win of reaching the National League Championship Series.
The Citi Field crowd alternated between roars of delight for sluggers Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d‘Arnaud and taunting chants for bench-riding Dodger Chase Utley as the Mets seized a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Division Series.
Utley, whose two-game suspension for a fierce slide into New York’s Ruben Tejada that broke the Mets shortstop’s right leg in Game Two awaits an appeal, did not get into the game.
Yet the crowd of 44,000 rocked with chants of “Utley Sucks” and “We Want Utley” as New York’s lead grew in the first postseason game played at Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as the Mets’ home in 2009.
“We knew going in it was going to be loud, it was going to be a lot of energy,” said Mets manager Terry Collins after his team’s franchise record runs total for a playoff game.
“The response when our guys came on the field was unbelievable.”
Granderson drove in five runs with a pair of booming doubles, while Cespedes and d‘Arnaud both homered and each had three hits, three runs scored and three RBIs.
Matt Harvey, who yielded two earned runs in five innings, said the team needed to concentrate on winning rather than look for retaliation for Tejada’s injury.
“For us it was to stay focused, go out and let our play do all the talking,” he said.
Filling in admirably for Tejada was Wilmer Flores, who stroked a single and a double and scored two runs.
The Dodgers struck first with four hits in a row in the top of the second for three runs off winning starter Matt Harvey, but the Mets quickly did them one better.
A booming, bases-loaded double off the center field fence by Granderson in the bottom of the second put New York ahead 4-3.
D‘Arnaud lined a two-run homer to left in the third off losing starter Brett Anderson and Cespedes capped a four-run fourth with a three-run blast that turned it into a rout for the Mets, striving to win their first World Series in 29 years.
A three-run homer in the ninth by Howie Kendrick narrowed the gap. Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo home run for the losers in the seventh.
Game Four will be played in New York on Tuesday with three-time Los Angeles Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw taking the mound on short rest against Mets’ rookie Steven Matz.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was optimistic despite his ace left-hander working without his usual four days off in an elimination game at Citi Field.
“He’s been pretty good with three days rest,” said Mattingly. “I feel good with him. His stuff’s always good. So yeah, I‘m always pretty confident when he’s pitching.”
(This story has been refiled to add first name of player in paragraph 8)
Editing by Amlan Chakraborty