Valdespin has grand moment in the clutch

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
12:24
AM ET
Where the ball landed had little significance to Jordany Valdespin.

Whether his 10th-inning rocket ended up short of the wall, 100 feet past it, or on top of the wall before bouncing into the stands like it ultimately did, all those landing points meant just one thing for the charismatic utility player.

"I hit the ball in the air, the only thing I think is I win the game," Valdespin said.

[+] EnlargeJordany Valdespin, Josh Wall
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsJordany Valdespin celebrates after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning on Wednesday.
And that's precisely what he did.

Valdespin hit a walk-off grand slam to give the New York Mets a dramatic 7-3 win in 10 innings over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on Wednesday night. It's the sixth time in franchise history the Mets hit a walk-off grand slam, and the first since June 25, 1991, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"It was awesome. Any time something like that happens, it’s pretty electric," said Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey. "You know, we needed that hit."

Before becoming the hero, Valdespin came up small in his previous opportunity. In the eighth inning with the Mets down 3-2 and a runner on third with two outs, Valdespin entered as a pinch hitter, only to weakly ground out. Disgusted with himself, he hoped for one more shot to make up for his failure.

"I never put my head down," Valdespin said about his groundout in the eighth. "Every moment, every second, I think 'I want to win the game.'"

David Wright helped him out by tying the game at 3-3 with an RBI single in the ninth, and Valdespin got his chance at atonement in the 10th. With men on second and third and one out, the Dodgers intentionally walked Lucas Duda to face Valdespin.

According to Harvey, Mets bench coach Bob Geren told Valdespin this scenario would unfold, with Duda being walked to load the bases, and that Valdespin would make the Dodgers pay by sending the Mets home victors.

The Dodgers played just two outfielders, waiving the white flag on any fly ball, and Valdespin jumped all over a 2-1 pitch, sending an arching shot to right. The only question was where the ball would land, and it ended up just crossing the wall after bouncing off the top of the fence. Valdespin didn't pay any attention to whether he had his first homer on the year.

"I was thinking about seeing the ball good, good swing and hitting the ball because they have two outfielders and they have the space in right field," Valdespin said. "I want to try to hit the ball well and that's what happens."

Valdespin has developed a reputation on the team for coming through in big spots, notably as a pinch hitter. Wednesday, though, marked his first career walk-off RBIs. Valdespin, who is known for having a big personality, made sure that moment came in as grand a manner as possible.

"He just relishes that big moment during a game," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187