For the second time this week, Mike Baxter gave the Mets a walkoff win in a low-scoring game. This time, Baxter singled to drive in Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Pirates.
Before the dramatic finish, though, the score was close throughout the game. The Mets got on the board first on a sacrifice fly by Marlon Byrd in the second inning, and the team held the one-run lead until the sixth inning.
Dillon Gee got the start for the Mets, and he was good through five innings but got into trouble in the sixth. He loaded the bases, allowing a pair of singles to Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones and hitting Russell Martin—who made very little effort to move his elbow-guarded elbow out of the way—with a pitch. So with nobody out and the bases juiced, Brandon Lyon took over.
He induced a flyball out from Pedro Alvarez, which scored McCutchen from third to tie the game at one. Lyon then retired Brandon Inge and Clint Barmes in order to keep the game tied. The inning could have gone considerably worse. With the bailout by Lyon, Gee finished the night with five innings pitched having allowed one run on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
The Mets didn't score in the bottom of the sixth, and Lyon began the seventh by giving up a single to Jose Tabata. The Pirates sacrifice bunted him to second, at which point Terry Collins turned to the hardest working relief pitcher in baseball: Scott Rice.
Like Lyon the inning before, Rice recorded a quick out, intentionally walked McCutchen, and got the third out to once again keep the game tied. And in the bottom of the inning, Andrew Brown hit a one-out single, and Ike Davis, who had entered the game in a double-switch when Rice came in, hit a double to give the Mets their second one-run lead of the night.
In the top of the eighth, however, LaTroy Hawkins came in and yielded a solo home run to Pedro Alvarez, and the game was tied again. Hawkins has been very dependable of late so a solo home run in that situation was not the end of the world.
David Wright singled against the suddenly-dominant Mark Melancon in the bottom of the eighth, but New York wasn't able to score. Bobby Parnell came in to pitch the ninth for the Mets, and Jose Tabata once again led off with a single. Parnell struck out Starling Marte and got pinch hitter Jordy Mercer to ground into a force out at second base. Andrew McCutchen came up next, though, and hit a shot to center field that would have likely hit the very top of the blue fence if not for an outstanding catch by center fielder Juan Lagares.
The Pirates turned to their closer, Jason Grilli, in the bottom of the ninth, an unconventional strategy that Terry Collins should be willing to use more often. But in this instance, the Pirates' closer wasn't able to get the job done.
Marlon Byrd beat out an infield single to start the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Brown. And then Mike Baxter came in to pinch hit, and for the second time in three nights, he came up with the walkoff hit—a single to center field—to plate Byrd and give the Mets the dramatic win.
The series continues tomorrow at 7:10 pm with Shaun Marcum facing off against Wandy Rodriguez.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Mike Baxter, +31.1% WPA, Ike Davis, +25.4% WPA, Brandon Lyon, +13.8% WPA, Bobby Parnell, +12.5% WPA, Scott Rice, +12.1% WPA
Big losers: LaTroy Hawkins, -16.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Baxter's walkoff single, +31.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Pedro Alvarez's game-tying home run, -27.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +21.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +28.9% WPA
GWRBI!: Mike Baxter