Bautista’s First Career Walk-Off Homer Propels Mets to Victory

337.

That’s the number of home runs Jose Bautista has hit in his major league career.

7,010.

That’s the number of plate appearances it took for Bautista to reach his current home run total.

1.

That’s the number of walk-off home runs Bautista has hit in the big leagues.

You read that correctly, it took over 7,000 plate appearances and hundreds of trips around the bases prior to July 6, but at 37-years-old, Joey Bats hit his first career walk-off home run, a grand slam that propelled the Mets to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Citi Field.

“I was looking for a good pitch and I got it,” Bautista said. “I’m glad I didn’t miss it . . . I was aware [of not having a walk-off]. I guess sometimes it takes longer.”

Mets ace Jacob deGrom pitched eight splendid innings and surrendered just one run but ended up with another no-decision. Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth in a 1-1 tied game and held the Rays at bay to get New York to the bottom of the ninth.

Todd Frazier kicked off the bottom half of the frame with a walk, which was followed by a single from catcher Devin Mesoraco. Young shortstop Amed Rosario dropped down a stellar bunt which moved the runners over and put the Mets in great position to come away with victory.

Dominic Smith then stepped into the dish, needing to just get the ball in the air deep enough for Frazier to tag, but winded up grounding out to put New York’s back up against the wall.

Opposing pitcher Chaz Roe walked Brandon Nimmo to load the bases, and Joey Bats stepped in.

Bautista needed to see just one pitch from Roe, who threw a 93 mph fastball inside which he promptly parked into the seats in the left field.

“His ability to take the balls just off the plate puts him in a position where pitchers have to pitch to him,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “They know, ‘I can’t fall behind this guy because I have a good chance of walking him,’ especially in that situation. So as a pitcher you’re like, ‘I got to get ahead of him,’ so he threw the first pitch, and he put the bat on the ball.”

In 39 games with the Mets now after being released by the Atlanta Braves, Bautista has hit .255/.432/.489 with four home runs and 18 RBI.

Bautista Quick Hits

  • Has reached safely in 18 of his last 19 games (.473 OBP in that span).
  • Has hit .300 (15-for-50) with four homers and 15 RBI in his last 17 games.
  • Has drawn 20 walks in his last 19 games and 29 walks in 39 games with the Mets.
  • Has 32 homers and 85 RBI in 157-career games vs. Tampa Bay.

About Rob Piersall 1130 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.