After Dominic Smith tied the game in the ninth inning with the Mets until their last strike, Drury won it for them in the 10th on a single out to complete the comeback in a 5-4 win over the Reds at Citi Field.
Drury, in the lineup of collapsing Michael Conforto, pierced ex-Yankee Luis Cessa’s right side to score autocrosser Kevin Pillar for second place. He has improved to 11 for 15 since being recalled from Triple-A on July 24, sparking a wild celebration on the pitch following the Mets’ eighth outing of the season.
“You can feel something building,” said Rich Hill, who allowed four runs in five innings in his second start for the Met. “You start to feel that little steamroller coming down and picking up a pace that I think we’re going to be an exciting team to watch down the home stretch. “
Edwin Diaz flirted with danger in the top of the 10th. He allowed the automatic runner to take third place with a wild throw, then walked Jesse Winker without an out. But he returned to take out Kyle Farmer and Joey Votto before flying Tyler Naquin to complete the frame.
The Mets (55-48) snapped a two-game skid one night when Baez, acquired from the Cubs before Friday’s trade deadline, made his debut with a two-run homerun in the sixth inning that gave a boost to the Cubs. Put on after dragging 4-1.
“The love of the fans means so much to me,” said Baez, who went 1-on-4 and shot a recall after the home run. “The love they showed me tonight was really special. … Before that I was a little nervous and tried too much.
Baez was fortunate enough to play the hero again in the ninth, coming to plate as a winning run with a runner in the front row and no outs. Luis Guillorme, who ran by pinch for Jeff McNeil, moved up to second on wild ground during Baez’s at-bat, but Heath Hembree rebounded to take out Baez on a slider outside the zone with a count. full.
Hembree then struck out James McCann on strikes before the Reds called left-hander Sean Doolittle to face left-hander Smith. But Smith has hit lefties well this season (now batting .326 against them) and continued that trend, pushing a single down center fielder to score Guillorme from second and tie the game four.
“We saw the game and felt comfortable enough that Dom was going to put the ball into play,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Huge at bat on his part and gave us a chance to win the game. “
Baez’s two-run homer in the sixth inning got Citi Field to stand up and chant their name, but it could have been even bigger. An earlier batter, Jonathan Villar was called out on second for the first out of the inning. It was important because Baez’s 412-foot shot from left field only reduced the deficit to 4-3 instead of leveling the game at four.
“The clutch situations for Javy, he’s built for things like that,” Rojas said.
Making his second start for the Mets since being acquired in a trade from the Rays, Hill made it through the first three innings before getting into trouble in his final two innings. He gave up a pair of two-out homers – an Eugenio Suarez three-point jack in the fourth and a Farmer’s solo shot in the fifth – to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
But the Baez home run a round later brought the Mets to life, starting the comeback before a scorching Drury put the finishing touches on the 10th.
“Right now I feel great up there,” Drury said. “I want to do whatever I can to help the team win baseball games. ”