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Date Sep. 13th 06:09 AM Icon 6 Date 0

 

NEW YORK — It took Jose Bautista 1 <a title="Alex Okafor Jersey" href="www.saintscheapstore.com Okafor Jersey</a> ,727 major league games to hit a walk-off home run. It only seems like it has been that long since the New York Mets won consecutive games at home.

The Mets will hope Bautista’s long-awaited walk-off on Friday propels them to a rare winning streak on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle game of a three-game series.

The Mets’ Steven Matz (4-5, 3.46 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Rays ace Blake Snell (11-4, 2.24) in a battle of left-handers.

Bautista made his first walk-off homer a particularly memorable one when his grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Mets to a 5-1 win in the series opener.

“I guess sometimes it just takes awhile,” said Bautista, whose 336 homers without a walk-off before Friday were the most among active players.

The 37-year-old Bautista has proved to be a rare bright spot for the struggling Mets (35-49) by hitting .255 with four homers, 18 RBIs and a .432 on-base percentage since signing with New York on May 22, hours after he was released by the Atlanta Braves. He hit just .143 with two homers and five RBIs in 12 games for Atlanta.

“Top-tier production out of a guy that we got from Atlanta, who let him go, so that (performance is) surprising,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Friday night. “Now the guy himself, who has the body of a 25-year-old (and) stays in shape? Can never count those guys out. He’s been playing for a long time, had a lot of success.”

Success has been hard to come by for the Mets, especially at home, where they haven’t won consecutive games since a four-game winning streak from May 18 to May 21. New York is 3-15 in its last 18 games at Citi Field.

The task won’t be easy Saturday when Snell looks to continue his breakout season for the Rays (43-44) and further bolster his case for drawing the start for the American League in the All-Star Game on July 17.

Snell has limited opposing batters to a .179 average <a title="Sterling Shepard Jersey" href="www.giantscheapstore.com Shepard Jersey</a> , the lowest in the AL. He is tied for second in the the league in wins and ranks third in ERA.

Snell has been particularly dominant in winning his last three starts, a stretch in which he has allowed just two runs in 21 1/3 innings while striking out 26 and allowing 20 baserunners. He surrendered one run and struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings in beating the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the success has emboldened Snell, who entered the seasons with just 11 wins and a 3.83 ERA in 43 career starts.

“We all know how talented he is and the stuff that he features — there aren’t many guys in baseball, 6-foot-5 left-handers that throw that hard — but the consistency has been probably the most eye-popping of all of it,” Cash said. “And I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons that go into that. But once he got some confidence and realized how talented he is, I think it carries over from start to start.”

Snell has never faced the Mets, though he did pitch at Citi Field as a member of the “home” team last Sept. 12. In that game, he allowed one run and two hits in five innings for the Rays against the New York Yankees in a game relocated to Citi Field because of Hurricane Irma’s impact on the Tampa Bay area.

Matz also picked up the win in his most recent start Sunday when he gave up an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins 5-2. He has never faced the Rays.

Editors:

To help you with planning for the NBA Draft in Dallas on June 21 in New York, here are some of our coverage plans. Please direct questions to Oscar Dixon (odixon(at)ap.org). Plans subject to change. This digest will be updated. All times Eastern.

TUESDAY, JUNE 19

BKN–NBA DRAFT-YOUNG

Trae Young’s numbers in his lone season of college were ridiculous. He led the nation in scoring and assists. He had NBA stars tweeting about his every move. But where he’s going to end up in the draft on Thursday night remains a bit of a mystery, for reasons that Young doesn’t fully understand. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 2 p.m.

BKN–NBA DRAFT-BIGS

RALEIGH, N.C. – Arizona one-and-done 7-footer Deandre Ayton headlines the list of big men in the NBA draft. Ayton was a dominating force in college and could be the No. 1 overall pick. He leads a position that includes top-10 prospects in Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr., Texas’ Mo Bamba and Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. By Aaron Beard. UPCOMING: 675 words and photos by 3 p.m.

BKN–NBA DRAFT-HAWKS-TRADE TALKS

ATLANTA – With four picks in the top 34 <a title="Malcolm Mitchell Jersey" href="www.patriotscheapstore.com Mitchell Jersey</a> , including No. 3 overall, the Atlanta Hawks are in position to move up or down in Thursday’s NBA draft. GM Travis Schlenk says he’s getting a lot of calls but says there is space on the rebuilding Hawks roster to carry four rookies next season. By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 550 words, file photos by 3 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20

BKN–NBA DRAFT

NEW YORK – Luka Doncic may have the best resume in this year’s draft. He won a Euroleague championship and MVP award last season, and a European championship with Slovenia last summer. Sometime early Thursday night he’ll add to that resume when he becomes an NBA lottery pick. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.

– Sidebars on merit

THURSDAY, JUNE 21

BKN–NBA DRAFT

NEW YORK – The Phoenix Suns have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, with big men Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr. among the top prospects along with Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Developing from 7 p.m. draft.

With:

– BKN–NBA DRAFT-THINGS TO KNOW. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 5 a.m. on draft day.

– BKN–NBA DRAFT-THE LATEST, real-time updates on draft day/night.

– Individual stories from each NBA team.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22

BKN–NBA DRAFT-HUERTER’S NIGHT

CLIFTON PARK <a title="Devin McCourty Jersey" href="www.patriotscheapstore.com McCourty Jersey</a> , N.Y. – The Associated Press spends the NBA draft with early entrant Kevin Huerter, as he waits for the phone to ring and the next step in his basketball life to be decided. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos, video planned by 6 p.m.

SENT PREVIOUSLY:

Features:

BKN–NBA DRAFT-THE INTERVIEW

CHICAGO – When teams are deciding who to take in the NBA draft, the off-court interview still carries enormous weight. What happens on the floor obviously is of great importance as well, but the half-hour chats at the draft combine might be just as critical to teams that need to choose which players merit multi-million-dollar investments. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 800 words, photos on June 18.

BKN–NBA DRAFT-UNDRAFTED LIFE

There’s going to be dozens of players left out in the cold at next week’s NBA draft, players who will not hear their names called by the time the night is over. Udonis Haslem knows how they’ll feel. Undrafted in 2002, Haslem – a Miami native who has spent his entire NBA career with his hometown Miami Heat – has been in the league longer than just about any other active player. Next season will be his 16th in the NBA. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 850 words, photos on June 14.

BKN–THE OFFSEASON

There are a slew of questions that need to be answered in the NBA this offseason. There’s the obvious one: What will LeBron James do? But there are plenty of others, including the future for Kawhi Leonard, the next moves for Chris Paul and Paul George, and whether the league has seen the last of Dwyane Wade. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 950 words, photos on June 9.

Profiles:

BKN–NBA DRAFT-PORTER

Someone is going to gamble on Michael Porter Jr. <a title="John Brown Jersey" href="www.ravenscheapstores.com Brown Jersey</a> , and he insists it’ll pay off. There is an element of danger involved with every NBA draft pick, in that nothing is guaranteed. There isn’t a player that epitomizes the risk versus reward thinking in this draft more than Porter Jr., who some think could get taken as high as No. 2 by Sacramento and others forecast could go several picks lower because of uncertainty surrounding his health. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 750 words, photos on June 17.

BKN–NBA-DRAFT-DIVINCENZO

Donte DiVincenzo’s plan was to come out and test the NBA draft waters this spring, with the expectation that he would be returning to Villanova for another season. And then the national championship game happened. The hero of Villanova’s win over Michigan picked the perfect moment to play the game of his life. And the intrigue surrounding how his game might translate to the NBA has been growing since. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 750 words, photos on June 16.

BKN–NBA-DRAFT-ANTETOKOUNMPO

Kostas Antetokounmpo has a famous brother, a great bloodline and soon, he hopes, an NBA job. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s younger brother is an early entry candidate for next week’s <a title="Womens Sam Darnold Jersey" href="www.officialusafootballs.com Sam Darnold Jersey</a>


 
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