NEW YORK – The New York Mets had a jumbled mess behind the plate when they reported to spring training this year.
Their catching situation is settled now.
Henry Blanco hit a leadoff homer in the 11th inning, New York’s second game-ending drive by a catcher in less than a day, and the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants, 5-4, on Saturday for their ninth straight home win.
It was the first time New York had won consecutive games on game-ending homers since Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza did it July 28-29, 2001, against Philadelphia, according to STATS LLC. Rod Barajas connected in the ninth inning Friday night to give New York a 6-4 victory.
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“That was exciting to see Henry come up and hit that home run,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “We swung the bats well the last couple of innings but I was wondering where we were going to get some runs.”
They got it from an unlikely source.
Blanco drove a 1-0 pitch from former Mets reliever Guillermo Mota (0-1) just over the wall in left for his first homer of the season and the first game-ending drive of his career. Blanco finished with three hits and is batting .429 (9-for-21) in his past seven starts.
“It was a fastball pretty much right down the middle but I never thought it was going to go out,” Blanco said, “so I just keep running hard and see if I can make a triple. But I guess it went out.”
The Mets tried to sign Bengie Molina over the winter but the catcher decided to go back to the Giants. Blanco agreed to a one-year deal in December and Barajas didn’t join the team until Feb. 24.
Now, Barajas leads the team with nine homers and both backstops have done a solid job offensively and defensively.