LOS ANGELES — Zack Greinke glared out to right field, shook his head and massaged a baseball, trying to figure out what he had done wrong. Daniel Murphy had turned on a low, inside fastball, sent it screaming into the seats and then flipped his bat. The Dodger Stadium crowd watched in stunned silence.
Twice deGrom appeared to be on the verge of getting pulled, and twice Collins left him in.
Murphy single-handedly kept the Mets in the game. After he doubled in a run in his first at-bat, Greinke retired the next eight batters, until Murphy singled in the fourth and scored the Mets’ second run, thanks to his own heads-up base running.
After Lucas Duda worked a walk, Greinke kicked the dirt on the mound and the Dodgers infielders milled about, Murphy touched second base and then sprinted to third, which had been left vacant as the Dodgers shifted to defend the left-handed Duda.
Murphy scored on a sacrifice fly, tying the score, 2-2, which seemed like a gift with the way Greinke was throwing.
Greinke struck out five of the first six batters he faced, and he made about every other Met look foolish. Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Duda finished the game 0 for 10, with seven strikeouts.
Over all, Wright and Duda, two of the most important bats in the Mets order, combined to bat 3 for 34, strike out 18 times and drive in just two runs.Photo
But deGrom pitched three more innings on sheer will and did not allow another run. He struck out Seager again to strand a runner in the fourth and, with Syndergaard warming again, deGrom struck out Yasmani Grandal to strand another runner in the fifth.
DeGrom had to make 57 of his 105 pitches with runners in scoring position, and he still lasted six innings, compiled seven strikeouts, and limited the Dodgers long enough for his offense to respond.
Collins finally turned to Syndergaard, the rookie, to pitch the seventh, and it perhaps could not have worked better. Syndergaard retired three of the four batters he faced. When Justin Turner came to bat (he was 3 for 3, with two doubles off deGrom) and Syndergaard struck him out on a curveball.
Before Game 2, Collins had bumped into Sandy Koufax in a hallway in the recesses of Dodger Stadium. Collins had gotten his managerial start in the Dodgers’ organization; he had fond memories listening to Koufax’s stories in spring training.
Koufax and Collins chatted for a few minutes, and as Koufax left, he stopped and complimented Collins to two reporters standing aside. “Is he the manager of the year? I don’t know. I’m not voting,” Koufax said, grinning, with a twinkle in his eye. “But I think so.”
In Game 5, Collins made one last radical decision, bringing on his closer Jeurys Familia to get the final six outs. Familia pitched a perfect eighth and a perfect ninth.
For the final out, Familia struck out Kendrick and hopped up and down on the mound, as his teammates mobbed him, giving the Dodgers fans their own lasting image to remember.
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