Terry Collins challenged his team Monday afternoon not to quit despite the injury-related losses of Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy.
They proved to him, and perhaps reiterated to themselves, that plenty of fight remains.
Lucas Duda’s two-RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Mets a 9-8, come-from-behind win over the Padres in front of a family-and-friends crowd of 21,814 at Citi Field. The hit was the first walk-off in Duda’s Major League career, and the fourth for the Mets in 2011. The Mets are 57-57 after their second win in three games.
Jason Isringhausen (3-2) earned the win by throwing a scoreless ninth. Former Met Heath Bell (2-4, third blown save) imploded for three runs and four hits in one-third of an inning.
That the Mets were in position to win the game was incomprehensible. The triumvirate of Mike Pelfrey, Pedro Beato and Ryota Igarashi were roughed up for eight runs — all earned — and 11 hits in eight innings by the third worst offensive team in the sport. San Diego had a 8-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.
The rally began innocently enough as Duda singled off Chad Qualls. That was followed by a Jason Bay walk to bring up Mike Baxter. Baxter, who grew up in Whitestone, Queens, and went to Archbishop Molloy, slammed a first pitch sinker to left field. Kyle Blanks aided his former teammate by attempting an interesting, if awkward, axel. Duda and Bay scored to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Baxter, along with Ruben Tejada, were called up from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day because Reyes and Murphy were placed on the DL.
“It’s great. It’s good to contribute tonight,” Baxter said. He estimated that he had 50 to 80 friends and family members at the game, and reported that he had received 22 text messages.
“I’m excited to be a Met.
“It was kind of a crazy day,” he added. “It’s pretty wild.”
The Mets led 4-1 after three innings due to solo home runs off the bats of Angel Pagan and Bay, and a two-run shot from David Wright. Wright, who also made a spectacular diving catch, slid headfirst into home plate and, in the process, collided with home plate umpire Marty Foster. When asked if his third baseman was fine, Collins brought the room down.
“God, I hope so,” Collins said laughing. “I didn’t ask him. I just shook his hand. I might walk in there and he’s in an ice tub. I don’t know. Please don’t do that. We just won a game. God, give me a heart attack.”
Follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.