Patrick Mazeika did it again.
His walk-off fielder’s choice ground ball Tuesday night lifted the Mets to a 3-2 win against the Orioles, the second time in five days that his weak grounder resulted in him standing shirtless at the center of a celebratory mob of teammates.
Called up last week, Mazeika, a catcher who has yet to catch in the majors, has had four plate appearances. Three have driven in a run. Two have ended the game. One turned into a walk. None have ended in a hit.
"I’ve put three balls in play in the big leagues, and I don’t think any of them have been above 70 [mph]," said Mazeika, who was promoted to the majors three times last year but did not get into a game. "It’s been exciting. I didn’t expect to be in those spots, being so new to the team. But any opportunity to help the team, whether it’s in the second inning like my first at-bat or the ninth or 10th inning, I’m always excited to make something happen."
The Mets (17-13) have won six consecutive games, the longest active winning streak in the majors.
They were down by one heading into the bottom of the ninth. They rally started with back-to-back singles from Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar against righthander Cesar Valdez. Dominic Smith drove in the tying run with single to right-center.
That brought Mazeika, a 27-year-old rookie and the final position player available for the Mets, to the plate. His grounder to first and Trey Mancini’s high throw were enough to allow Villar to score.
"It’s pretty incredible what he’s been able to do when he’s been up there in those key situations," said Marcus Stroman, who allowed one run in 6 1⁄3 innings.
Mazeika said reliever Jacob Barnes came up to him after and said: "Hey, are we trending up? Did you hit that one any harder?"
He responded: "Actually, I think it was just as slow as my first."
Mazeika didn’t give himself enough credit. His dribbler against the Diamondbacks on Friday went 3 feet at 57.1 mph before hitting the ground. This time, the ball traveled 8 feet at 64.9 mph.
"To be counting on him in situations like this — and for him to come through — I’m so proud," said manager Luis Rojas, who had Mazeika in Double-A in 2018.
The late dramatics overshadowed what had been a pitchers’ duel between Stroman and Baltimore lefthander John Means, who shut out each other’s team through six innings.
Both left the game suddenly during a sequence in the top of the seventh. Baltimore (16-20) had back-to-back hard-hit singles from Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco to open the inning. After Rio Ruiz’s sacrifice bunt, the Mets opted to walk Pedro Severino, loading the bases and forcing the Orioles to use a pinch hitter in place of Means.
That is when Rojas, after letting Stroman have his say on the mound, pulled Stroman, who looked unhappy. Lefthander Aaron Loup gave up a sacrifice fly to Pat Valaika, scoring the first run of the night. "[Stroman] said, ‘I feel my sinker is really good right now. I’m good, I’m good with the move, I respect you,’ " Rojas relayed. "And he came out. You know Stro. He’s such a competitor."
After being removed, Stroman was in the dugout pacing, yelling and kicking a wall at least once. After Loup got the last out, Stroman was the first to greet Loup and catcher James McCann as they came off the field.
That helped set the stage for the Mets’ fourth walk-off win in 30 games.
"We’ve relied a lot on our starting pitching and our bullpen and some of these dramatic comebacks," Mazeika said. "But if they’re going to keep us in the game, we’re going to battle them. We have all the confidence in the world in what we can do."
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