The New York Mets faced criticism this offseason after signing first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a major league deal, primarily to be their starting first baseman when the regular season arrived. It took one swing of the bat to prove the haters wrong, though.

The Mets have started off the season as one of the hottest teams in baseball. A series against the NL East favorite Washington Nationals did little to deter that. When they were in need of a big play on Sunday evening, however, Gonzalez stepped up.

Mets go yard

In the past ten years, New York has only swept Washington on the road once.

They had an opportunity to add to that record with the nation watching, thanks to a game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Washington took an early lead, courtesy of a two-run homer from superstar Bryce Harper.

In the top of the third inning, the Mets battled back against Washington starter Tanner Roark. After two quick outs, the team managed to draw three consecutive walks to load the bases with two outs. From there, Gonzalez walked into the batter's box, wasting no time swinging at the first pitch he saw, an 89 MPH fastball in the zone.

One pitch - one swing - completely changed the game's momentum.

The Mets went from trailing by two runs to leading by two runs in an instant. Sure, Travis d'Arnaud immediately grounded out to end the inning in the afterglow of the grand slam. But for the first time all night, Mets starter Matt Harvey was going to pitch with the lead, rather than a deficit.

He had Gonzalez to thank for that.

Gonzalez's season outlook

This hasn't been the prettiest start for the 35-year old first baseman. He managed to nab two hits and score a run in his first game with the team, an Opening Day victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, however, Gonzalez hasn't recorded a single multi-hit game or scored a single run. He needed that grand slam on Sunday evening to get him back on track.

Ultimately, the Mets don't desire Gonzalez to remain their starting first baseman throughout the year. They would rather see Dominic Smith get into shape in the minors after a terrible Spring Training and usurp the veteran at first base. It would allow Gonzalez to move into a bench role, which would suit him well at this point in his career.

For now, Gonzalez is starting almost every day for the Mets. On Sunday night, he reminded fans why that proposition may not be as bad as it once seemed during the winter.