Friday, September 9, 2011
Turner comes through with game on the line
By Matt Ehalt
Justin Turner isn't nervous coming up to the plate with the game on the line.
"I enjoy being in (those situations), definitely," the Mets second baseman said.
Friday night, he showcased why as he delivered the game-winning hit to give the Mets a 5-4 walk-off win against the Cubs at Citi Field. Turner recorded his second career walk-off hit -- he also had one against Oakland earlier this season.
"This one definitely felt better," Turner said.
With the game tied at 4 in the ninth, with a man on second and two outs, the Cubs intentionally walked the National League's top hitter, Jose Reyes, to face Turner.
While Mets manager Terry Collins obviously would have loved to have Reyes bat, he said that in situations like the one Turner faced, the rookie has the most disciplined swing on the team. Turner aims to just get the bat on the ball without worrying where it goes, according to Collins.
"One thing about Justin Turner, I knew he was going to hit it -- I didn't know where it was going to go, but I knew he was going to hit it," Collins said.
All Turner hoped to do was put a good swing on the ball and get a pitch up in the zone that he could drive over center fielder Marlon Byrd's head. On a 1-0 pitch, reliever Sean Marshall left a curveball up in the zone and Turner drove it to center.
Off the bat, it didn't look as if Turner had gotten all of the pitch, but the ball kept carrying and Byrd kept running toward the fence in center field before the ball finally dropped behind him and bounced over the fence. The hit gave the Mets their fifth walk-off win of the season. Turner finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
"I knew I hit it good," Turner said. "As soon as I hit it, I looked at Byrd and saw he was kind of playing in shallow, so I was just hoping I hit it good enough to get over his head."
Tuner is now batting .366 with runners in scoring position this season. It's no wonder his teammates have lots of confidence in him in big spots.
"We believe in every guy we have here. When everybody has an opportunity, we have to be confident about it," Reyes said. "Turner has been doing that for the whole season for us."