Javier Baez's first Mets home run sets tone in comeback win over Reds: 'He’s built for things like that'

·3 min read
Javier Baez Pete Alonso jumping celebration
Javier Baez Pete Alonso jumping celebration

Saturday night’s win over the Cincinnati Reds featured a little bit of everything for the Mets.

The Mets fought back from a 4-1 deficit, aided by Javier Baez’s first home run as a Met, and Dom Smith saved the game with a ninth-inning RBI single before Brandon Drury won the game in the 10th with a walk-off single. And all of it came in front of another playoff-type crowd at Citi Field.

Baez’s sixth inning homer was an electrifying moment, as he swung the momentum back in the Mets’ favor with a no-doubt two-run shot off Wade Miley.

“Really excited to see the fans cheer my name,” Baez said after the game. “That’s the biggest thing that motivates me to be out there, that I play for the fans and the love from the fans means so much to me. The love that we showed me tonight, it was really special.”

“Clutch situations for Javy, he’s built for things like that,” added manager Luis Rojas. “All the adrenaline. As you saw he impacted the ball, and we knew it was gone immediately. I think a lot of people in the dugout were expecting a big fly or hard contact in that third at-bat, that third time seeing Miley, who’s a pitcher he’s seen a lot, seen him in the same division with other teams.

“Everyone got excited when he made contact with the ball, and then we saw him at the plate just staring, because he knew the ball was gone off the bat. So much energy, this kid brings. I’m excited. … Who a pro, and what a presence in the clubhouse and out there on the field, so, yeah, we’re fortunate to have Javy right now.”

With the Mets down by one and down to their last strike in the bottom of the ninth, Smith had a great at-bat before lining a single off Sean Doolittle to center to tie the game and bring the Citi Field crowd back to life.

“Dom, knowing how he pitches, was able to take some of those balls and stay alive,” Rojas said. “But I think the experience of facing him in the past helped him to stay alive in that at-bat and final get that secondary pitch and get that RBI single.

“Huge at-bat by him, and gave us a chance once again to win the game.”

And after Edwin Diaz fought out of a two-on, no-out jam in the top of the 10th, Drury stung a single the other way to score Kevin Pillar and complete one of the most exciting wins of the Mets’ season.

“My swing’s feeling pretty good and I’ve been getting goo pitches to hit, my timing’s been good,” said Drury. “When I got sent down to Triple-A, I felt like I was pretty solid down there for a good month and kind of got my feeling of playing every day and rhythm and timing back. So, right now I just feel good up there.

“I know a single wins the game. I got down 1-2 there, and I was just trying to protect both pitches. Try to be short, and punch something the other way or keep my hands in on a fastball.”

The Mets now have a chance to win the series on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch on SNY set for 1:10 p.m.

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