NEW YORK — In less than a span of two months, New York Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar went from the solution the franchise needed at the hot corner to one of the team’s biggest question marks going into the postseason. Escobar made sure he provided a couple of exclamation points tonight, one step closer to turning fears in the summer into cheers in the fall.
Escobar smacked a three-run home run in the second inning, all of the scoring the Mets would need during their 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday evening at Citi Field. Chris Bassitt went six scoreless innings while striking out eight in picking up his 14th victory of the season, extending his single-season career-high win total.
After signing an offseason deal with the Mets to solidify one of the team’s biggest weaknesses, Escobar was productive in his first month as a Met, hitting eight doubles and producing a .253 batting average and .378 on-base percentage. Since then, Escobar, who had been slowed down by a couple of injuries, had not hit above .220 in any month, and when highly-touted third baseman Brett Baty was called up after Escobar went down with an oblique injury last month, Escobar starting job looked to be in peril.
All he needed was the flip of the calendar — and the sight of the Pirates, against whom Escobar possessed a .415 batting average and 1.244 OPS in his career going into 2022, the latter being the highest OPS he has recorded against any team. Two men on and two men were out when Escobar stepped in for his first at-bat in the second inning against Pirates starter Bryse Wilson, and Escobar turned around a first-pitch fastball and deposited the ball well over the right-centerfield wall for his 18th home run of the season.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with all photos taken by ALOST photographer Chris Hagan. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 15 pictures in total.