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Baxter's bat propels Mets; Ex-Bison beats Jays with three-hit day

TORONTO -- Mike Baxter erased some bad memories with a big day at the plate.

Baxter had a career-high three hits and came within a home run of the cycle, Dillon Gee won for the first time in four starts and the New York Mets held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5, on Sunday.

The Mets had lost four of five, but avoided a sweep by improving to 12-6 in day games.

"When you come back and take the third game of a series like that with pretty much a total team effort today, it's a great way to leave town and it's a good note to go to Pittsburgh on," said Baxter, who hit .188 in 18 games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons last year. The Mets open a three-game series against the Pirates tonight.

Baxter was called out at second base trying to stretch a double in the ninth inning of Saturday's loss, left frustrated about a phantom tag from Toronto's Yunel Escobar that denied a chance for a late rally.

There were no such frustrations Sunday. Baxter doubled and scored in the first, tripled home a run in the second and singled and scored in the fifth. He had two chances to complete his cycle, but he grounded out in the sixth and walked in the eighth.

"It crossed my mind, but I didn't really want to get away from what I've been doing," Baxter said. "I just want to try and keep the same approach."

Baxter said he once hit for the cycle in the minors, rounding the bases on an inside the park home run.

With a major league-best eight pinch hits in 17 at-bats, Baxter has been a key weapon off the bench for Mets manager Terry Collins. He's starting to prove himself just as valuable in the starting lineup, going 7 for 15 in his past five games.

"His bat is speaking for itself and when you've got a red-hot bat like his, you've got to get him in there," Collins said.

New York third baseman David Wright, who missed Saturday's game due to illness, returned to the lineup and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a walk, raising his majors-leading average to .412. Wright also struck out twice, once with the bases loaded.

Jose Bautista homered for Toronto, his 11th.

Gee (3-3) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, leaving for reliever Bobby Parnell after Bautista's RBI single in the seventh. He walked four and struck out six.

"I was all over the place today," Gee said. "Last game I felt great and I gave up seven runs. Today I felt terrible, like I couldn't throw a strike, and I give up three."

Wright's first-inning single was the 1,301st career hit, moving him past Jose Reyes into sole possession of second place on New York's all-time list.

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