Collin Cowgill barely got to enjoy the first grand slam of his career.
After stroking a ball to deep left that hit above the yellow home run line and careened off the wall and back onto the field, the spark plug busted around the bases, believing spacious Citi Field had contained him. Not until he caught a glimpse of Mets third base coach Tim Teufel did he realize he'd be touching all four bases.
"Got to enjoy it for about 90 feet," Cowgill said. "I'll take it."
Cowgill's had a memorable first game as a Met as he blasted that grand slam and recorded a career-best four RBIs in the Mets' 11-2 rout of the San Diego Padres. Cowgill is the first Met to hit a grand slam in his team debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It's a special day. My first time being in an Opening Day lineup. A lot of jitters but it's exciting. The fans were unbelievable. Beautiful day for that," Cowgill said. "It was an exciting day and Jon Niese, what a game for him. Just an outstanding day for us and we're looking forward to keeping this going."
In Mets manager Terry Collins' pregame interview, he said he placed Cowgill in the leadoff spot because the outfielder has home run potential in his bat. Cowgill, who the Mets acquired in a trade with Oakland in December, had just two home runs in 74 MLB games entering Monday, but hit 51 in his minor league career.
In the seventh inning, Cowgill made Collins look prophetic. With the Mets ahead 7-2 and the bases loaded with two outs, he drove a 2-2 pitch from Brad Brach over the home run line in left to give the Mets an 11-2 lead. Cowgill finished 2-for-5 on the day, nitpicking later that his day would have been better had he not struck out twice, and said he appreciated hearing the fans chant his name after his blast.
"It's really humbling. I tried to give them some acknowledgement, but at the same time, I got to concentrate on the game too," Cowgill said. "Just a humbling experience today. Very grateful for it, and I'm looking forward to what we can do in the future."
Added Collins: "Colin Cowgill took the opportunity and ran with it. It's what we talked about all spring long. We provide chances and what do you want to do with them. He certainly got us off to a big start today."
Entering this season, there had been a lot of pessimism about the Mets outfield. Cowgill is an unproven talent, Marlon Byrd struggled last year with Boston and Chicago in 47 games, and there are still question marks about Lucas Duda's game. Some have labeled it the worst outfield in the game.
For one day, at least, the Mets outfield showed it can hold its own, buoyed by Cowgill's home run and Byrd's pair of RBIs.
"We got a lot of guys that can play this game and play it well and whenever our number is called, those outfield guys, we're going to try our best to come through in the spots we're given," Cowgill said. "Hopefully this continues and I think it will."