NEW YORK – With the season in flux, the stars aligned for the Mets in a win-or-go-home Game 2 in the Wild Card Series.
After losing in Game 1 when Max Scherzer turned in his worst outing of the postseason and the offense was completely silent, Jacob deGrom brought in his first game in Citi Field and the top of the Mets’ lineup restored the odds. three of the first games.
Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso delivered the Mets’ first six hits, including two home runs, and another offense exploded in the seventh inning to lift the Mets to a 7-3 victory over the Padres in the second. game in the best-of-three Wild Card Series before a sellout crowd of 42,156 fans at Citi Field.
“We’ve been trying to play like ourselves,” Lindor said. “It’s just baseball. We have good days. We have bad days. We try to get rid of as many bad days as we can and try to have good days.
“Like I said before, we played really Mets-like today. We put the ball in play. We run the bases well. We play good defense. We get down. We stay together, and we win together.”
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The Mets shook off the Padres’ pitching staff, including starter Blake Snell, to a nine-game streak, and stepped in when it was important to get the vibe back after the Game 1 disappointment.
With the Mets leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Lindor homered and Pete Alonso and Mark Canha drew back-to-back walks, National League hitting champion Jeff McNeil delivered the biggest victory of the season with a two-run double. right fielder from Padres reliever Adrian Morejon to give the Mets some breathing room.
“He fell behind 2-0, so I know he doesn’t want to go with me in that situation,” McNeil said. “I’m trying to get a good pitch to hit. I’m not trying to do too much there. I’m just trying to find another barrel on the ball and find a hole.”
Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach each drove in a run.
Now, the Mets’ season will be on the line again with Chris Bassitt on the mound in Game 3 at 7:07 pm on Sunday.
Jacob deGrom’s last stand?
It may be the last time fans hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” as deGrom takes the mound in the Mets’ home saints.
Several times throughout the season, DeGrom announced his intention to opt out of the fifth and final year of his $137.5 million contract.
With the Mets’ season at an end and his future in doubt, deGrom had to step up to ensure he would get a chance to pitch again at the big stage this season.
“I guess that went through my mind, but the hope was that we were going to win a baseball game and keep playing,” deGrom said. “Like I said yesterday, the goal was to put us in a position to win or give us a chance and pass it to (Chris) Bassitt. So our guys did a good job of coming out and putting together some good at-bats and getting Blake out there early and putting in some runs late.”
DeGrom did his part to extend the season for the Mets, finishing with two earned runs allowed on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.
When the intensity increased, deGrom was able to offer a sense of relief.
In the top of the third inning after giving up a home run to Trent Grisham – his second of the series – deGrom walked Jurickson Profar and gave up a single to Juan Soto. After falling behind 2-1 to Manny Machado, the Mets ace battled back and got him to fly high on the final ball out of the inning.
The Padres pulled one back in the top of the fifth inning after deGrom issued a walk to Grisham and an RBI single off Profar from the base line. Soto gave the Padres runners on the corners with a single.
But deGrom was able to strike out Machado and Josh Bell to preserve the lead.
“It was trying to slow everything down, like I said, and really, try not to leave everything in between and throw it where I wanted to throw it,” deGrom said. “I was lucky I was able to do it in (the third and fifth).”
DeGrom went back out with 90 pitches and recorded a 1-2-3 sixth inning on nine hits.
A new life of guilt
One night after Yu Darvish hurt the Mets and left six runners stranded, including three at third base, the lineup hit against Blake Snell.
And the big names were made.
In the opening inning, Lindor gave the Mets their first lead of the series with a solo home run to left field. After Grisham’s home run tied the game, Escobar and Darin Ruf drew back-to-back walks and Nimmo lined an opposite-field RBI single to left.
The Mets made Blake Snell work hard, ejecting him from the game after 3⅓ innings by drawing six walks and collecting four hits.
“Not only the hits, you look at the quality of the games that the guys were dirtying, those guys were – the boundary line they were taking, the movement of the work. This was a great victory, “Alonso said. “When we say Mets baseball, it’s just that we’ve done everything – we’ve done the most important things. This will be a good place to go tomorrow.”
That allowed the Mets to come in against the Padres bullpen. When the Padres got within a point again in the top of the fifth, Alonso delivered a no-hitter solo shot by Nick Martinez in the bottom of the frame.
“To be able to come to a place like that to lead, I mean, it was amazing,” Alonso said. “Hopefully I can hit a few more like that tomorrow and move on. So I’m really happy that I was able to help the team.”
Nimmo was 3-for-4 with two opposite-field singles and an infield hit, while Lindor finished 2-for-4 with two runs and Alonso drew two walks in addition to his fifth-inning long ball.
Edwin Diaz’s early career
Buck Showalter wanted to keep the lead forever.
That meant the home fans were unprepared for Edwin Diaz’s inning in the top of the seventh inning with the Mets leading 3-2.
The migration was successful. After giving up a one-out to Austin Nola, Diaz got back-to-back ground balls to the right side to preserve the one-run lead.
“From my work, I can learn that every situation I encounter is a stressful situation,” said Diaz. “It could be today, I came in at number seven and it was pressure, we won once and I was feeling good. I think this is our game. I have to do the job now and that’s what I did.”
But did Diaz’s exit pay off? With the Mets leading 7-2, Diaz returned to the outfield in the top of the eighth against the heart of the Padres order. He hit a grounder by Machado and struck out Jake Cronenworth after walking Josh Bell.
Diaz needed 28 pitches to get through 1⅔ innings. He helped lead the Mets to a win, but the question now is whether he will be available for the team in a crucial Game 3 on Sunday.
“I’m going to feel good because I feel good all the time,” Diaz said. “If more than three people want me, I will be ready because we have to win tomorrow.”
Adam Ottavino came in and did everything but get the last out. He took two hits and a fly ball but gave up three walks and hit a batter to load the bases and give up a run. Seth Lugo made the last out.