October 17, 2015: Game One of NLCS

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Date: October 17, 2015
Mets starter: Matt Harvey
Mets: 4
Cubs: 2
Winning pitcher: Matt Harvey
Key player(s): Matt Harvey, Daniel Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud, Curtis Granderson
Key play: Murphy’s and d’Arnaud’s homers, Granderson’s single and sacrifice fly

The Mets and Cubs began the National League Championship Series on a Saturday night. The teams played the opener in front of 44,287 fans at Citi Field. The Mets got off to a winning start with a 4-2 victory over Chicago.

Mets’ starter Matt Harvey retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. With two outs in the bottom half, Daniel Murphy hit a home run against the Cubs’ Jon Lester for a 1-0 New York lead. Yoenis Cespedes went down on strikes to end the inning and Harvey pitched a perfect top of the second. Lester then gave up only a single to Travis d'Arnaud in the bottom half.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Anthony Rizzo got hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the fifth. Starlin Castro followed with a double that brought home Rizzo and tied the game at 1-1. Jorge Soler grounded out to third baseman David Wright and a single by Javier Baez ensued. Trying to score on Baez’s hit, Castro was out at home via a throw by left fielder Cespedes to catcher d’Arnaud. With David Ross at bat, Baez stole second base and went to third on d’Arnaud’s error. Ross was walked intentionally and Harvey fanned Lester for the inning’s third out.

Wilmer Flores singled with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Juan Lagares hit a single and Harvey laid down a bunt on which first baseman Rizzo threw to third baseman Kris Bryant for a force out on Flores. Curtis Granderson connected for a single that plated Lagares and put the Mets back in front, 2-1. Lester then threw a called third strike past Wright to close out the inning.

Harvey set down all three batters in the top of the sixth. D’Arnaud slugged a solo homer with two outs in the bottom half. Michael Cuddyer singled and Flores flied out to left fielder Kyle Schwarber to end the inning. Harvey hurled a scoreless top of the seventh and Lagares singled against Lester to begin the bottom half. Juan moved to second base on Harvey’s sacrifice bunt and stole third. Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Lagares and increase the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Chicago reliever Justin Grimm then retired Wright on a grounder to Rizzo to finish off the inning.

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Schwarber homered against Harvey for the Cubs’ second run. Mets’ reliever Jeurys Familia issued a walk to Bryant and retired Rizzo on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Flores. Chicago’s Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill combined for a perfect bottom half and Castro popped out to second baseman Murphy to open the top of the ninth. Soler was struck out and Miguel Montero hit a single. Familia then got Tommy La Stella to hit a grounder on which Murphy made a diving stop for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory and the early lead in the series.