NEW YORK (AP) Once Juan Lagares saved the game with his glove, he gladly let Mike Baxter win it with his bat.

Lagares robbed Andrew McCutchen of a go-ahead hit with a leaping catch at the wall in the top of the ninth inning, then Baxter's pinch-hit single in the bottom half sent the New York Mets over the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Thursday night.

``At home plate, I didn't do very well with the bat,'' Lagares said. ``I tried to forget it and play defense.''

Baxter delivered his second winning pinch-hit in three days. His 10th-inning single Tuesday beat the Chicago White Sox.

This time, Baxter batted for Lagares and won it.

``Very enjoyable. Good feeling,'' Baxter said.

Lagares was equally responsible for the victory. Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said the rookie center fielder might win a game with his defense - he was right, maybe sooner than he expected.

Called up from Triple-A on April 23 because of his bat and mitt, Lagares preserved the ninth-inning tie with his gem.

With a runner on first and two outs, McCutchen hit a loud shot into faraway right-center field. Lagares glided back, perfectly timed his leap and plucked the ball at the top of the fence as he rammed into the padded wall. It was a fantastic play, yet he seemed so under control he made it look almost routine.

``I got a good jump,'' he said. ``I saw it all the way into the glove.''

Asked if he thought the ball would've cleared the wall, Lagares said it was close. Either way, it would've at least been a tiebreaking extra-base hit.

``That was huge,'' Baxter said. ``Lagares saves the game.''

McCutchen wasn't so surprised.

``I thought he was going to catch it at the wall. I didn't think I got enough of it to get it out,'' he said.

Marlon Byrd singled to start the Mets' ninth off Jason Grilli (0-1). Andrew Brown sacrificed and Baxter followed by grounding a single up the middle, easily scoring Byrd.

It's been quite a week for Baxter, who grew up in the shadow of Shea Stadium - just a few minutes from where Citi Field now stands.

Baxter is now 5 for 9 as a pinch-hitter this season. Not bad for someone who, before this week, might've been known solely for making a sensational catch to preserve Johan Santana's no-hitter last year.

Bobby Parnell (4-0) pitched the ninth. The Pirates have lost four of five.

Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run with one out in the eighth off Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins that made it 2-all. Alvarez began the day batting .168 and in a 1-for-16 rut before a single, sacrifice fly and long drive for his sixth homer.

Slumping Ike Davis put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the seventh after entering in the top half during a double switch. He took a terrible swing at a first-pitch slider, then hit the next pitch for an RBI double just beyond the reach of a sliding McCutchen deep in the right-center field alley.

Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He gave up three hits, all of them singles in the second inning.

The Pirates tied it at 1 in the sixth. They loaded the bases with no outs when McCutchen and Garrett Jones singled and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch, finishing starter Dillon Gee.

Reliever Brandon Lyon avoided major trouble, yielding only a sacrifice fly by Alvarez that made it 1-all.

The Mets scored in the second on singles by John Buck and Justin Turner and a sacrifice fly by Byrd. The run ended a streak of 15 scoreless innings on the road for Locke, a span that included outings at Dodger Stadium, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

NOTES: Baxter and Alvarez both played high school ball in New York City and went to Vanderbilt. ... Buck and Brown ended 0-for-14 slumps. Brown's drought began last year with Colorado. Brown scored on Davis' double. ... Martin had missed the previous two games because of a stiff neck. ... Pirates 2B Neil Walker (right hand cut) is starting a rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. He can come off the disabled list Sunday. ... Pirates RHP Charlie Morton will throw a bullpen session Friday. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery last June, and had shoulder stiffness last week in a Triple-A rehab outing.