Bobby Parnell had surrendered a leadoff double in the ninth inning to Anthony Rizzo while trying to protect a two-run lead. And things could have become very interesting if not for shortstop Ruben Tejada.
On a one-out flare to shallow left field by Bryan LaHair, with the outfield playing deep to prevent against a double, Tejada ranged backward and made an over-the-shoulder grab for the second out of the inning. Parnell then polished off his second save by striking out Steve Clevenger looking to complete the 3-1 win.
New York Mets
"I knew they were playing for no doubles," Tejada said about the outfielders playing deep. "My job is I've got to go out there and try to make the play. ... I read the ball good off the bat, so I think it's the key."
Said Terry Collins: "I didn't think he was going to get to it, but I'll tell you: Big-time players make big-time plays. That was a big-time play. He just showed you right there he can play with the elite at shortstop."
Starting pitcher Dillon Gee, watching from the trainers' room, said the players inside erupted.
"Everyone was going crazy," Gee said.
How good has Tejada been defensively?
Baseball Info Solutions has a couple different means of valuing defense:
One is with a stat, Defensive Runs Saved, which rates a player’s ability to turn batted balls into outs and convert double plays. Tejada entered the game with one defensive run saved. The other Mets shortstops this season have combined for minus-six defensive runs saved (minus-three apiece for Ronny Cedeno and Jordany Valdespin, and zero for Omar Quintanilla).
The other means of evaluation is through video review. Baseball Info Solutions categorizes plays into 30 types of Good Fielding Plays and 50 types of Defensive Misplays & Errors.
Tejada entered the day with 17 Good Fielding Plays and eight Defensive Misplays & Errors. Quintanilla, Cedeno, Valdespin and Justin Turner combined for nine Good Fielding Plays and 16 Defensive Misplays & Errors.
And, oh by the way, Jose Reyes has 26 Good Fielding Plays and 34 Defensive Misplays & Errors.
Tejada’s 17-8 Good/Misplay ratio is well above the MLB average, which is about 1.25 good-per-misplay.