Mike Baxter can't remember the last time he had a catch at the wall like he did in the first inning of the Mets' 6-1 win over the Padres Friday night.
"That's probably the first time at this level," the outfielder said.
Then again, it'd be hard for any prior catch to top Friday's acrobatic snare. Baxter's fantastic grab started an inning-ending double play in the first inning that proved to be a momentum-changing play that helped galvanize the Mets to their win.
"Held them to the one run in the inning instead of a multi-run inning and I think it really lifted Dillon (Gee) and everybody else," manager Terry Collins said. "It was a tremendous play."
With runners on first and third and one out in a scoreless game, Jesus Guzman hit a deep drive to left that Baxter snared with his right arm extended before crashing into the wall. While the runner from third scored, Baxter was able to get the ball back in time to nail Yonder Alonso at first to end the inning. Gee, shaky in the first inning, didn't yield another run.
Baxter said the ball carried and he was able to get a decent break on the ball and make the big play. He also contributed by driving in the go-ahead run with a double in the third, and he later came around to score. He's hitting .352 on the year.
"For him to have a play like that and get me out of the inning is huge," Gee said. "It gives me confidence going the rest of the game."
IKE AND DUDA PITCH IN: David Wright can't be the hero every night, so when he has 0-for-3 games like he did Friday, the team needs others to step up. Friday night, that support came from Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, who drove in three in the win.
"It's huge for our team," Collins said.
Davis drove in a pair of runs for the second straight day with his single in the fifth inning. Collins wondered if this is what Davis needs to get going offensively, as the team recently told him he won't be demoted to the minors despite his slow start to the year. He's 3-for-8 over the last three games and has boosted his average to .168.
"I've felt a little bit better, my swing feels a lot better," Davis said. "BP has been really good the last two days, it's just nice to contribute."
For Duda, his second-inning home run off the Subway sign in front of the second level of seats in right field snapped a span of 77 at-bats without a home run. Duda now has 23 RBIs, which is the second-most on the team behind Wright. He scored two runs in the win.
"I think for me to be a productive big leaguer I have to hit home runs," Duda said. "Just continue to battle and play the game hard."