September 2022 will forever be remembered as the month of Eduardo Escobar in Queens, especially after Wednesday night at Citi Field.
The veteran switch-hitter drove in five runs in the final four innings, including the walk-off, game-winning single to the left of the second-base bag while batting lefty off Dylan Floro in the 10th inning to cap off a thrilling comeback of a four-run deficit to lift the Mets to a 5-4 victory over the Miami Marlins.
“I just tried to hit it up the middle but he threw me a fastball,” Escobar, who had struggled through large portions of his first season with the Mets, said. “It’s unbelievable tonight.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 29, 2022
Not only did he improve his September RBI total to 24, which is second-best in the National League, but he willed the Mets back into first place by one game in the National League East with six games to play and heading into a crucial three-game series against the second-place Atlanta Braves, who lost in extra innings to the Washington Nationals just moments before Escobar’s game-winner.
“It was an incredible moment,” Escobar, who admitted that he knew the Braves lost prior to his game-winner, said. “What a game… Nothing has really changed. The things came out the way they should have because of the work I’ve put in. The most important thing is that the team has been able to win games.”
The Mets trailed 4-0 entering the seventh inning before a lifeless offense was sparked into motion by Escobar. Batting from the right side, he lifted his 20th home run of the season off Miami southpaw Jesus Luzardo — who had been untouchable over the first six innings — to halve the hosts’ deficit.
He followed it up with an opposite-field single that poked its way through the right side of the infield with the bases loaded to tie it up at four apiece with two outs in the bottom of the eighth off Marlins reliever Richard Bleier — the same reliever who balked three times in the eighth inning on Tuesday night to score Jeff McNeil from first.
“He just never gave in. He never gives in,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s the same guy every day. We all have challenges in life on and off the field… That’s life. It’s what you do when you’re faced with a situation we’re all faced with… He’s a great example for everybody.”
The Mets had recorded just two hits against Luzardo through six innings on their way to a second-consecutive sizable deficit to the lowly Marlins.
Starter Taijuan Walker fared better than Carlos Carrasco in his audition to be the team’s No. 4 postseason starter, allowing three runs on six hits over five innings.
Much of the damage came from the red-hot Bryan De La Cruz, who lifted a two-run home run in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. He doubled in the sixth to run Walker from the game and set up a JJ Bleday run-scoring sacrifice fly.
An inning later, it was four as Brian Anderson doubled in a run off Seth Lugo — ultimately setting the scene for Escobar’s valorous contributions to get his side back in it.
The Mets had an opportunity to send the fans home happy in the ninth inning when Tomas Nido’s one-out double and a Brandon Nimmo walk brought up the heart of the order. But Pete Alonso struck out for the fourth time of the night before Francisco Lindor popped up to bring on extra innings.
Drew Smith, who also had his fair share of struggles this season, shut the Marlins down in the 10th with that automatic runner on second in order behind two strikeouts.