Baxter front row for memorable Mets starts

Baxter front row for memorable Mets starts

NEW YORK -- Mike Baxter seems to have a knack for showing up in no-hitters and near no-hitters. Baxter, who first gained fame by making a highlight reel catch at the wall in Johan Santana's no-hitter, came right back Tuesday night and delivered the game-winning hit in Matt Harvey's gem.

Harvey, who had taken a perfect game into the seventh inning, got a no-decision after throwing nine one-hit innings, and Baxter didn't even enter the game until after he'd left. Baxter pinch-hit in the 10th inning and singled in the game's only run, making sure Harvey's gem didn't go to waste.

"The way he pitched, he deserved to win. It's unfortunate," said Baxter of Harvey's no-decision. "It's good to come out on top. It was a good win, and he's the reason we had a chance to do it."

Baxter, a native of Whitestone, N.Y., first helped make history last June by crashing into the wall to preserve Santana's no-hitter in the seventh inning. That game, 50 years in the making, was the first no-hitter in franchise history, and Baxter had a good seat for the close call on Tuesday.

"Sitting in the back and watching Harv go, it kind of had that vibe that we were going down that road again," said Baxter. "An infield single, it was pretty close to that ending. But he was outstanding. You guys know that. Everyone knows that. It's fun to watch him pitch when he throws like that."

Baxter wound up missing six weeks after Santana's no-hitter to heal a shoulder injury, and Santana's season also unraveled after his historic game. The Mets emerged from Tuesday's game unscathed, and catcher John Buck said he's eager to see what Harvey will do next.

"I look forward to it," said Buck. "I guarantee that he'll have something that we can improve on, if you can imagine it. There were a couple things where we talked, and we will work on it. That's the way he is. That's why it's fun to catch him, because I know he's going to try to get better off of even today."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.