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Javier Báez: New Mets Fan Favorite

Before the suspended game from April 11 resumed, there was the theatre of the absurd where Javier Báez and Francisco Lindor were forced to apologize for the thumbs down controversy. Their qualifying the apology certainly didn’t help matters.

What really didn’t help was the Mets falling behind 5-1 to the Miami Marlins. It also didn’t help Jesus Aguilar was taunting them during the game.

Worse yet, this was the same old story with the Mets blowing chance after chance after chance. That includes the eighth when Báez was announced as a pinch hitter. He was booed lustily by the sparse crowd. It’ll probably be the last time he’s ever booed.

Chance Sisco of all people got a rally started with a one out walk. Brandon Nimmo followed with a two run homer, which at the time seemed like little more than window dressing.

Don Mattingly brought in Richard Bleier to replace Anthony Bass. Bleier retired Lindor putting the Marlins within one out of victory and a group of Mets seeking redemption.

First was Dominic Smith, who singled. Pete Alonso came up as the tying run, and he lined a double to left. Mattingly went to Dylan Floro, and Báez came up as the go-ahead run.

Báez hit an infield single scoring Smith pulling the Mets to within 5-4. Michael Conforto followed with an opposite field single easily scoring Alonso to tie the game. When Jorge Alfaro, a catcher somehow thrown to left, bobbled the ball, Báez made a mad dash for home.

It was a run arguably only Báez could score. It involved a player with speed who always hustles, and a player with a high baseball IQ willing to take calculated risks. The end result was a win and a great call from Gary Cohen.

This was a win which flipped the script. Not only did it take a bad loss and make it a great win, but it changed the narrative and reaction towards Báez.

It was also a win with legs. The Mets would get off and running in the fourth with a Conforto two run homer.

Later in the inning, Jeff McNeil would double home Báez. It was 3-0, and the Mets would hold on.

Trevor Williams cruises through four, but he’d hit a bump with the 3-0 lead and a Jonathan Villar error. An Aguilar double drove in a run.

With two on and one out, Luis Rojas went to Aaron Loup. While Loup would walk Jazz Chisholm, he’s get Isan Diaz to hit into the inning ending double play.

Things weren’t easy for Seth Lugo in the sixth, but he’d get out of a runners on second and third jam by striking out Sandy Leon and Magneuris Sierra.

Edwin Diaz came in the seventh and retired the side in order for his eighth consecutive save. With that, it was a doubleheader sweep.

This day had all the feel of the Wilmer Flores walk-off. With the Mets 5.5 games out of a postseason spot with a month left in the season, who knows?

Doubleheader Notes: Jeurys Familia picked up the win in the first game. Loup won the second game. Between games, Luis Guillorme was activated off the IL, and Brandon Drury was optioned. Yennsy Diaz was the 27th man.

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