Mike Baxter did it again for the New York Mets. Either Baxter is a great clutch player or he really enjoys getting whipped cream shoved in his face by teammate Justin Turner, as he delivered a walk-off win for the Mets Thursday night for the second time in three games. Tuesday night, Baxter drove in the winning run against the Chicago White Sox and Thursday, he did it against the Pittsburgh Pirates, ensuring victory for the Mets in two close games that it would have been a shame to see them lose.
Baxter wasn’t the only unlikely hero (not that he’ll be considered an unlikely hero for long) to come off the Mets bench. First baseman Ike Davis, who wasn’t in the starting lineup, came into the game during a double switch and in his first at bat, crushed a double to the warning track in right center field, which gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets would end up needing that run, as Pedro Alvarez homered for the Pirates against LaTroy Hawkins to tie the game at two runs apiece. But the Mets being tied in the 9th inning instead of being behind allowed manager Terry Collins to use Andrew Brown to bunt the potential winning run into scoring position, and put Baxter in position once again to drive in the game-winning run.
In keeping with the theme of players of the bench, the Mets bullpen deserves a lot of credit for the win as well. Starter Dillon Gee left the 6th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Brandon Lyon got out of the inning while only allowing one run, which kept the game low scoring and gave the Mets a chance. Bobby Parnell, who was credited with his fourth win of the year. He pitched a scoreless 9th inning, getting a lot of help from Juan Lagares, who made a spectacular catch in centerfield to end the top of the 9th, and set up the Mets to win it in the bottom half of the inning.
It was indeed a group effort by the Mets. But in the end, it was Baxter who stole the show again for the Mets, coming through in the clutch just as Collins napped it out. When the Mets needed a hit in a key spot, Baxter was the one that delivered and got them a win that they really needed.