NEW YORK -- Mike Baxter's pinch-RBI single in the ninth inning -- his second walk-off pinch-single in three nights -- lifted the New York Mets to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday at Citi Field.
Baxter was hitting for rookie center fielder Juan Lagares, who preserved the 2-2 tie by robbing Andrew McCutchen of a sure-fire go-ahead double -- and a potential two-run homer -- with a leaping catch at the wall to end the top of the ninth. The ball was at the orange line as Lagares made the catch.
Marlon Byrd began the winning rally with an infield single off Jason Grilli. Second baseman Brandon Inge made a diving stop, but the ball squirted loose and Byrd beat the throw by a step.
Andrew Brown followed with a sacrifice to bring up Baxter, whose pinch-RBI single in the 10th inning capped the Mets' 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. After fouling off the first pitch, Baxter lined the next pitch up the middle and Byrd came around to score easily as the Mets poured out of the dugout to celebrate with Baxter.
Bobby Parnell, the Mets' fifth pitcher, improved to 4-0 with a scoreless ninth.
Ike Davis, mired in a season-long slump, put the Mets up 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a tiebreaking RBI double in his first at-bat after entering in a double switch. Davis, who sat against left-handed starter Jeff Locke, entered the game hitting just .167 in his last 15 games with 20 strikeouts in 48 at-bats.
Pedro Alvarez, stuck in his own slump, tied it with a long solo homer in the eighth. Alvarez snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a fourth-inning single and delivered the Pirates' first run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
McCutchen and Jose Tabata had two hits apiece for the Pirates.
Mets starter Dillon Gee was pulled after allowing the first three batters in the sixth to reach base. He gave up one run, five hits and two walks while striking out three and throwing a season-high 101 pitches.
Locke continued his recent run of solid pitching by tossing six innings and allowing one run, three hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Locke has allowed just one run in 19 innings in his last three starts.
The Mets got on the board first during an eight-pitch sequence in the second. John Buck singled to snap an 0-for-14 skid and went to third on a long single by Justin Turner, who was thrown out trying to extend it into a double. Buck came home on a sacrifice fly by Byrd.
The Pirates stranded five runners against Gee through five innings and left runners at the corners in the third when Garrett Jones flied out to left to end the threat.
NOTES: Mets reliever Frank Francisco threw a scoreless inning for Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday night -- his third scoreless outing in a span of four days -- but general manager Sandy Alderson said Francisco will remain on a rehab assignment for the time being. Francisco has been on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation all season. ... Mets manager Terry Collins defended the human element in umpiring Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after umpires in Cleveland cost Oakland the tying run in the ninth inning by mistakenly ruling Adam Rosales' home run a double. "Pretty soon this game's going to be played by robots and we'll all be watching," Collins said. ... Pirates catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup after missing two games with a stiff neck and Tabata missed his sixth straight start with a sore left hamstring. ... Alvarez entered the game in a 2-of-26 slump.