NEW YORK — Byron Buxton has shown this month that he could indeed approach the towering expectations placed on him as a hyped prospect.
If and when he does, the Minnesota Twins will have to start turning his timely homers into actual victories.
Buxton launched a soaring go-ahead shot in the 11th inning, but then Curtis Granderson hit a tying homer in the 11th and another solo shot with two outs in the 12th, lifting the New York Mets over the Twins 3-2 on Saturday night.
Buxton lofted his homer down the left-field line off right-hander Hansel Robles to lead off the inning. It was Buxton’s seventh homer of the season, and his two hits Saturday are the latest sign that he may be finding his way in the majors.
Since being recalled Sept. 1, Buxton is batting .333 with six homers and 15 RBIs, a huge spike from his .193 average in 63 games prior to this month.
“I think he’s had to deal with a lot in terms of the up and down and expectations,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “And he’s just kind of learning to trust his ability a bit more. “
Granderson’s blasts made Buxton’s shot for naught in the latest disappointing loss for the team with the majors’ worst record.
Granderson pulled a 3-2 pitch from Ryan O’Rourke (0-1) down the right-field line to win it after leading off the 11th with a drive against closer Brandon Kintzler that made it 2-all.
Josh Edgin (1-0) pitched a scoreless 12th and got his first victory since June 1, 2014.
New York moved into a tie with San Francisco for the two NL wild cards, with St. Louis trailing by two games. The Cardinals beat the Giants 3-2 on Saturday.
Mets star right-hander Jacob DeGrom was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday and will probably miss the rest of the year because of an injury to the ulnar nerve in his right elbow.
The Mets have won six straight against the Twins dating to 2010, including the first two in this series.
Yoenis Cespedes made it 1-all with an RBI single off reliever Ryan Pressly in the eighth.
Rookie Seth Lugo labored through five innings of four-hit ball to again support the Mets’ decimated rotation. He walked four but stranded them all, allowing his only run on a homer by Eddie Rosario in the fourth.
Twins starter Ervin Santana struck out nine, walked two and allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings.
Santana didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth and only permitted three Mets past first base. The 33-year-old is 4-3 with a 2.56 ERA since the All-Star break after beginning the season 1-7 with a 5.10 ERA over 12 starts.
“It’s tough,” Molitor said. “You get into those games that look like they’re going to be about pitching. He had a lot of arm strength and was making a lot of good pitches. And we got offense from a couple of homers. You look for your ability to win close games when you take leads.”
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced deGrom’s prognosis hours before New York began giving away Jacob deGrom Hair Hats at the gate.
DeGrom has been out since Sept. 1 because of elbow pain. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year felt fine while throwing a bullpen Friday but sensed a twinge after tossing a baseball in from the outfield during batting practice about 15 minutes later.
DeGrom will need surgery but has not decided whether he will wait until the end of the season. Recovery time for the operation is expected to be three months, meaning the 28-year-old will be ready for spring training.
An MRI showed no damage to deGrom’s ulnar collateral ligament — good news for the star righty, who already had Tommy John surgery in 2010.
TWINS: Rosario injured his left hand diving into first base trying to beat out a grounder in the 10th inning. He was replaced in left field by Logan Schafer. Molitor said “it didn’t look too good.”
Gabriel Ynoa and a “plethora” of relievers will pitch in deGrom’s place Sunday against Minnesota, said Mets manager Terry Collins. Kyle Gibson (6-9, 5.08) will throw for the Twins.