When Jenrry Mejia was suspended, Jeurys Familia slid into the closer’s role and the streak began. When David Wright went down with a strained hamstring, Eric Campbell came up and the Mets kept rolling along.
Tuesday night, the first game after the Mets suffered a double blow with Jerry Blevins and Travis d’Arnaud breaking bones, rookie Kevin Plawecki, Alex Torres and — perhaps most notably — Curtis Granderson stepped up to keep the streak alive.
Granderson drove in his first runs of the season, Plawecki had two hits in his major-league debut and Torres took care of the Braves’ biggest lefty threat as the Mets beat the Braves, 7-1, at Citi Field. The Mets extended their winning streak to nine games, their longest since 2008, and at 11-3 they are tied with the Tigers and Royals for the best record in baseball.
“When you see that, you see the next guy step up and keep things going smoothly and you see it happen again and again. Every time we have had a setback, that makes you believe,” veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer said. “It just reaffirms that belief we have had in ourselves all along.”
The Mets have the longest current winning streak in the majors, and the 11-3 start is tied with the 1986 world champion team for the best in team history.
With the win they remained unbeaten at Citi Field dating back to Sept. 27, 2014, including eight straight this year. They have won 10 in a row overall at home, two shy of a team mark.
Granderson, who came into the game hitting .146 without an RBI, went 3-for-5, including a two-run single in the Mets’ four-run fifth inning and an RBI double in the eighth. That ground-rule double was Granderson’s first extra-base hit of the season.
“He had a big night and got some hits. It was good for him,” Terry Collins said. “We all think that when you look up at the end of the year, I’m sure his numbers are going to be there. He’s one of the guys who’s in that room and makes that room better — the way he goes about things, his makeup, what he says, how he handles himself. So it’s nice to see him have a big game.”
Twice, Granderson drove in Plawecki, who was called up to replace the red-hot d’Arnaud after the starting catcher broke his pinkie on Sunday. Plawecki, 24, had an impressive showing, with a single to left in the fifth for his first hit and then another single in the eighth.
He also had a solid night behind the plate, guiding Jon Niese (2-0) to the win. Niese allowed one run on four hits and four walks over 6.2 innings.
“We didn’t want Travis to get hurt because of the way he’s playing, but this kid is going to handle himself just fine,” Collins said. “He’s going to be a big-league player for a long time, and we’re very lucky we’ve got those kind of kids who can come up and we don’t miss a beat.”
After Niese gave up a solo shot to left to Cameron Maybin in the seventh, Torres came in with two on to face dangerous Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. It would have been a spot to bring in Blevins, the lefty specialist, but Blevins broke his forearm on Sunday.
Enter the lefty Torres, who fell behind 2-0 before striking Freeman out to end the inning.
“We’re all playing for each other,” Niese said. “None of us is selfish and you can tell. With the guys going down, we have other guys coming in and we’re welcoming them with open arms and rooting them on. . . . They’ve picked up the slack pretty impressively. I look forward to that continuing.”
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