It had become easy to forget, lost in all the talk about the relentlessness of the Royals. But the Mets lived this season with adversity, too, learned to fight through it, feed off it and ultimately conquer it.
Through two games of the 111th World Series, the Royals created the illusion that they hold a monopoly on resolve. Not anymore. Not after Friday night, not after a critical 9-3 win by the Mets that served as a resounding reminder of their character.
Humbled in the first two games of the series, the Mets roared to life in Citi Field's first World Series game.
"Right now, we need everybody to step up," manager Terry Collins said before he watched it actually happen.
David Wright drove in four runs with a two-run homer in the first and a two-run single in a four-run sixth that broke open the game.
Juan Uribe, on the shelf with a chest injury since Sept. 25, came off the bench in the sixth to lace an RBI single in his first postseason at-bat.
Noah Syndergaard, the 23-year-old righthander charged with saving the season, held the Royals to three runs. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, his final inning, to keep the Royals from seizing the momentum.
For the first time in the World Series, the Mets turned the tables, punishing the Royals for costly defensive miscues. It came at an ideal time. A loss would have left the Mets with a 3-0 deficit in the series, a nearly insurmountable deficit.
Instead, the Mets have new life. They will send Steven Matz to the mound Saturday night in Game 4 with a chance to even the best-of-seven series.
From the very first pitch, the Mets resolved that Game 3 would be different. A day earlier, Syndergaard was asked if he had noted the way Royals leadoff man Alcides Escobar feasted on first pitches, as he did on his inside-the-park home run off Matt Harvey in Game 1.
"I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I'll be able to break out tomorrow night," said Syndergaard, who buzzed Escobar's tower with a 98-mph heater on his first pitch of the game.
Television cameras showed Mike Moustakas spitting out a stream of obscenities from the Royals' dugout. The pitch sent the crowd into a frenzy, and the fans roared again when Escobar struck out, unable to catch up to a fastball.
But the Royals shook it off, going back to a formula that has worked all season. Even against Syndergaard, who has induced the highest percentages of swings and misses in this postseason, the Royals did not miss.
Ben Zobrist doubled and Lorenzo Cain's excuse-me half- swing resulted in a bouncer just to the right of the mound for an infield single.
With runners at the corners, Eric Hosmer hit a hard grounder to first base -- an inning-ending double play had it been turned. But Wilmer Flores' return throw sailed wide of the bag, which both Syndergaard and Lucas Duda covered in a bit of miscommunication. That made it 1-0.
The Mets bounced back in their half of the first, temporary seizing the momentum when Granderson reached on an infield single and Wright turned on a 96-mph fastball from Yordano Ventura for the second postseason homer of his career. The two-run shot sent a buzz through Citi Field and gave the Mets a 2-1 lead.
The Royals rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the second as Alex Rios singled home a run and scored on a two-out passed ball charged to Travis d'Arnaud.
Syndergaard led off the third by lining a single on an 0-and-2 curveball and Granderson ripped a two-run homer that hugged the rightfield line. His second home run of the World Series gave the Mets a 4-3 lead.
The Royals offered a rare gift in the fourth, allowing the Mets to tack on. Duda singled, d'Arnaud doubled and Michael Conforto rolled a grounder to first. When Ventura neglected to cover the bag, Duda scored to make it 5-3.
With one out in the sixth and a run already in on Uribe's single, Royals reliever Franklin Morales fielded a comebacker from Granderson. It could have ended the inning, but Morales froze. The confusion allowed Granderson to reach base, opening the door for Wright, whose two-run single came on the first pitch he saw from Kelvin Herrera. Yoenis Cespedes' sacrifice fly made it 9-3.