SAN DIEGO -- Apparently Mike Baxter, a former Padres outfielder, has earned quite a reputation in San Diego.
The Padres pitched inside to Baxter in Saturday's game. They pitched outside. They pitched up and they pitched down. In short, they threw the ball everywhere but over the plate, allowing Baxter to set a nine-inning Mets record and tie a National League mark with five walks in five plate appearances.
"It's just strange," Baxter said. "It's funny because it's the only thing that happened tonight. But I'll take it."
No Mets player had walked five times since Vince Coleman in 1992, and he needed a 16-inning game to do it. No Major Leaguer had walked five times in a nine-inning game since Mark Teixeira pulled the trick in 2009.
But sitting on four walks in the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-2 win, Baxter jumped out to a 2-0 count, took a strike, then watched two more balls for the record-setting free pass.
Of the 25 pitches Baxter saw in the game, only five were strikes. Thirteen of the final 14 pitches he saw were balls, several of them not particularly close.
"Each at-bat, it's not like I was looking to walk," Baxter said. "I'm still trying to hit and trying to drive guys in. I just ended up walking."
A fourth-round Draft pick of the Padres in 2005, Baxter appeared in nine games for them in 2010 before hooking on with the Mets last season. In eight plate appearances with San Diego, he did not draw a walk.