New York Mets outfielder Mike Baxter is having one heck of a week. For the second time in the last three days, Baxter propelled the New York Mets to a victory with a walk-off RBI single. The New York native drilled an 0-1 fastball up the middle, plating Marlon Byrd, as the Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Thursday night.
It was Baxter’s second walk-off hit of the season (and career) as the clubs last three wins at home have all come in walk-off fashion. The last time the Mets has three straight walk-off home wins was in 2006 (May 29 and 31 vs. Arizona, and June 3 vs. San Francisco).
The Mets improved to 4-6 in one-run games in the process.
New York blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman, Pedro Alvarez drilled a game-tying solo blast off LaTroy Hawkins. With two-out and a runner on in the top half of the ninth, Andrew McCutchen drilled a blast to deep center-field. McCutchens blast should have given the Pirates a lead, but rookie outfielder, Juan Lagaras leaped at the wall and made a spectacular play to rob the Pirates center fielder of an extra-base hit; setting the stage for Baxters late inning heroics.
Marlon Byrd opened the bottom half of the ninth with an infield single, before advancing to second on Andrew Browns sacrifice bunt. With deja vu on his mind, Mets manager Terry Collins called upon Mike Baxter to pinch-hit for Lagaras. Two-pitches later, Baxter rewarded his manager with a walk-off single
“Kind of talking to the players that we’ve had in the past that have had a lot of experience pinch hitting, and Teuf [Tim Teufel] and some of the guys on the staff that have done it quite a bit in the big leagues, I think the consensus among them is you’ve got to be a little more aggressive right from the start of your at-bat, just because you’ve been idle all game and you don’t have that rhythm of the game,” Baxter told reporters after the victory. “Sometimes it’s beneficial if you get a pitch in the zone, a fastball that you’re looking for, you probably should go ahead and get your timing on that first one.”
Baxter is proving to be a valuable commodity for the Mets as a pinch hitter. He is 5-for-9 (.556) with a walk as a pinch hitter this season and 13-for-39 (.333) with 10 RBI and a .420 OBP for his career.