The New York Mets’ playoff hopes took a brutal step back on Wednesday when Atlanta Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte made what may be the biggest catch of the year.
With a chance to take sole possession of the first place for the NL Wild Card, the Mets were trying to avoid being swept by the lowly Braves.
After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Mets were trailing by one in the bottom of the ninth. With two on and two outs, Yoenis Cespedes launched a deep ball to center field that looked like a home run off the bat.
However, Inciarte chased down the ball, leaped at the fence, and stole a win from the Mets. Watch the stunning catch below:
This is the difference between the Mets leading the NL wild card race and their current three-way tie with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.
Afterward, a distraught Cespedes only answered one question, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, saying, “I knew I hit the ball well. I knew there was a good chance it was going to make it out. But he made a better play.”
Meanwhile, an ecstatic Inciarte called it the best catch of his career:
“I think it was pretty cool. I went a long way. I thought that ball was gone off the bat. But it was the last play of the game, so I was going to try for it. This is probably the best catch I’ve ever made. I was really pumped up. I caught the ball, and I knew I had it, but the fans were waiting until I took it out of the glove.”
The Mets lost the season series to the 61-91 Braves, 10-9, which is a big reason why they’re fighting for the playoffs.
Not all is lost, however. The Mets finish the season with series against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins, two teams with below-.500 records. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have games against the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Giants play the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Still, the Mets blew a golden opportunity to get some breathing room on the pack. Now, they will have claw their way to the playoffs after the heroics of Inciarte.
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