Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rookie Rescue

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rookie Rescue

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - In the grandest moment of his young career, T.J. Rivera rounded the bases with a certain calmness, suppressing any urge he had to celebrate his first career homer.

Rivera doesn't get chances like this often as a reserve infielder, and he started Tuesday only because of a teammate's injury. Yet, there he was, as cool as a cucumber rounding the bases after hitting a homer into the left field seats in the 10th inning off one of baseball's best closers -- in the thick of a playoff push.

"I was super excited," Rivera said. "It was a nice moment, but I was trying to keep it cool."

Rivera saved New York by hitting the game-winning homer off Mark Melancon as part of a three-RBI night in a 4-3 win over Washington at Nationals Park. Rivera homered off Melancon on an 0-2 pitch shortly after Jeurys Familia blew a two-run lead in the ninth.

Noah Syndergaard had been in line for a win after hurling seven innings of one-run ball. The Mets (77-68) go for their seventh straight series win this afternoon.

"Somebody has to surprise you; somebody you don't have to expect," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Tonight it was T.J."

Teams that thrive in September receive production from unexpected sources, and Rivera became the latest rookie to give the Mets a boost during their 17-6 stretch.

The team had been hesitant to call him up earlier in the year, and entering Tuesday, the Pacific Coast League batting champion had received just three at-bats since making the jump earlier this month.

One of those at-bats was a single that could have given the Mets the lead Saturday in Atlanta, and Collins decided to reward Rivera for that at-bat with this start. He wouldn't have started, though, had Wilmer Flores been healthy enough to play, making Rivera's heroics all the more unlikely.

Rivera tied the game at 1 with an RBI single in the third, then padded the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Syndergaard held that lead by striking out 10 to record 200 strikeouts for the first time in a season, and the Mets handed the ball to Familia with the two-run edge. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.