Just when the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to be gaining some traction after a long losing streak, they were undone by some walkoff heroics from the New York Mets.
New York will try to carry some momentum from a stunning victory and take the series from the Dodgers in Thursday's finale at Citi Field
After rallying for one run in the ninth inning to tie the score, the Mets (10-9) beat Los Angeles 7-3 on Wednesday on Jordany Valdespin's walkoff grand slam in the 10th. Valdespin, who grounded out with a chance to tie the game in the eighth as a pinch-hitter, provided the franchise's sixth walkoff grand slam and first since Kevin McReynolds launched one against Montreal on June 25, 1991.
"Coming back and winning a game like that, that's huge for us as we move forward," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
New York is trying to win its fifth series in the seven it's played. It didn't win its fifth last season until its ninth series.
The Dodgers (9-11), meanwhile, are trying to avoid losing their fifth. They didn't lose their fifth of 2012 until their 17th series.
Despite the disappointing defeat, the Dodgers, who had won two in a row after a six-game losing streak, did see one positive as Matt Kemp homered for the first time this season and recorded three RBIs.
Kemp, who had been homerless in 86 at-bats going back to 2012, was more inclined to talk about the team's failure rather than his breakthrough.
"Home runs are going to come," he told the team's official website. "We don't need to talk about home runs. Talk about the game. We've just got to get better, score more runs, do a better job of everything. We've just got to win these games."
Kemp is batting .250 with a .355 slugging percentage, though he has hit safely in three straight games while going 6 for 13. His lowest slugging percentage was .448 as a rookie in 2006.
New York's comeback wasted a strong starting effort for Los Angeles from the 37-year old Ted Lilly, who held the Mets to one run over five innings in his season debut. The Dodgers will hope for a similar performance Thursday from first-year South Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 4.01 ERA).
Ryu had been solid until he gave up five runs and eight hits - including two homers - over six innings Saturday at Baltimore. The left-hander had allowed one homer over his first three starts, and also yielded two walks Sunday after issuing three in his first 18 2-3 innings.
"I can't really make any excuses," Ryu said through a translator. "I wish the outcome was better. But I'll come back and do better next time. I'll just consider it a big learning experience."
The Mets counter with Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07).
Home runs have been an issue all season as Hefner's surrendered seven in only 14 innings. He served up two while allowing three runs over four innings against Washington on Saturday.
Hefner has allowed two runs in four innings over three relief appearances versus the Dodgers.
Kemp tripled in his lone at-bat against the right-hander.