The Mets were down and out, headed for their third straight loss and likely another managerial tirade from Terry Collins.
But Carlos Beltran sought to change all that.
New York Mets
The 34-year-old right fielder ignited a seven-run rally with a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning, and the Mets went on to complete the largest comeback victory in the National League this season, topping the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8 Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
"That was a big swing," Collins said of Beltran's 400-foot homer, which caromed off the Alliance Building Services sign in left field. "That got us right back in the game and they felt they were still in it."
Beltran wound up going 2-for-4 at the plate with a homer, double, four RBIs, two runs scored and a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning, which proved to be the deciding run.
"Thank god we were able to come back and win," Beltran said. "We needed this one to even up the series."
With his ninth homer and 18th double of the season, Beltran moved into a tie for first place in the National League with 28 extra-base hits. He also passed Cleon Jones for sole possession of seventh place on the club's all-time RBI list with his first RBI of the afternoon.
"He had a good day for us," Collins said. "I really think those guys step into those situations when you need them. I remember that time in Colorado when Ike Davis went down, and the next day Carlos hits three homers.
"Just when you need him, he's there for you."
Collins was especially pleased with Beltran's approach during his final at-bat. Facing Jose Veras, Beltran took several close off-speed pitches on the corners before drawing a disciplined seven-pitch walk, which plated Josh Thole and gave the Mets a 9-7 lead.
"He laid off some tough pitches," Collins said. "And again, he didn't try to do too much. He just wanted to put it in play and get a base hit."