05/30/08 12:34 AM ET
Chavez showing off glovework, speed
Outfielder makes two key contributions to Mets' win
By Samantha Newman / MLB.com
Not even past the top of the first inning.
This time he showed off his defensive skills to the visiting Dodgers. When Russell Martin sent a fly ball into right field, Chavez ran forward to make the low grab. But one out wasn't enough for him. In one fluid movement, he transferred the ball to his left hand and threw to Brian Schneider, stopping Juan Pierre from reaching home plate and completing the double play.
"As soon as the ball was hit, I was expecting to dive for it, but I found out I could catch it without a slide, so I just tried to get it, be fast enough to get the throw," Chavez said. "I think it was pretty important, because they were going to take the lead right away in the first inning.
"So like I said, that's important, because we're still fighting, and we're still serious. So we had a chance to get it and get in the winning spot in the game."
Sure enough, the Mets struck first and never gave up the lead.
Though Chavez's double play grabbed the attention early, his pure hustle was most evident in the seventh inning, when he ran out a deflected ground ball and came away with a single and an RBI.
The play increased New York's lead to three and prolonged the inning. In what seemed like a trend on Thursday night, the Mets scored all eight of their runs with two outs hanging over their heads.
Chavez also continued another trend -- the spark that's come from the bench players, who have provided consistent contribution in recent games. There's no question that the play of Chavez, Fernando Tatis and Damion Easley has been a key factor in getting the Mets to three straight wins.
"I think the bench is pretty important for our team, especially in the National League," Chavez said. "I like it because I'm part of the bench, and we're supposed to make things happen when we come into the game. I know we've got pretty good talent in the bench to get the job done."
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.