Mets vs. Padres score: New York keeps season alive, forces Game 3 behind Jacob deGrom, timely hits
The Mets lived to see another day in a 7-3 win on Saturday night in Queens
The New York Mets have lived to play another day. Saturday night the Mets forced a Game 3 in their Wild Card Series matchup with the San Diego Padres with a 7-3 win in Game 2 (box score). The game was closer than the final score would lead you to believe -- New York did not break it open until the seventh inning. The game was never separated by more than one run for the first six-and-a-half innings, and San Diego brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth.
Jacob deGrom did what Max Scherzer could not in Game 1, and that's shut down San Diego and hand a lead over to the bullpen. He allowed two runs in six innings and struck out eight. The big hits that eluded the Mets in Game 1 and early in Game 2 arrived in the middle innings, and put New York in position to play another game.
The Wild Card Series is a best-of-three, so Sunday's Game 3 is a win-or-go home affair. Here are four takeaways from New York's Game 2 win.
Lindor and Alonso came through
Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso had excellent seasons overall, though they've been unproductive in a few too many games lately. They went a combined 5 for 23 (.214) while getting swept in Atlanta last weekend, then they went 1 for 7 in the Game 1 loss. Lindor and Alonso were hardly the only culprits in Game 1, though they are the biggest stars, so they get the most attention.
Both players came through when needed in Game 2. Lindor opened the scoring with a first inning solo homer against Blake Snell, giving the Mets the early lead they desperately needed after the Game 1 blowout loss. Then, in the fifth inning, Alonso gave the New York the lead for good with a solo homer of his own. That came right after the Padres tied the game in the previous half-inning.
All told Lindor and Alonso went 3 for 7 with two home runs and three walks in Game 2. New York's other big star -- Jacob deGrom -- struck out eight in six innings. At one point seven of 13 batters reached base against deGrom in the middle innings, but, in the end, he did what he needed to do and handed a lead over to the Mets' top relievers.
One batter too many for Snell
All things considered, it could have been worse. Padres lefty Blake Snell needed 90 pitches to get 10 outs and he allowed 10 of the 19 batters he faced to reach base. He opened the fourth with back-to-back walks, and after the No. 9 hitter was unable to get a bunt down, Padres manager Bob Melvin stuck with Snell against the lefty-hitting Brandon Nimmo.
That move backfired. Nimmo slapped a first pitch single to left to score the run and give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Nimmo went 3 for 3 with three opposite-field singles against Snell.
Nick Martinez replaced Snell and escaped the inning with no further damage. Classic case of sticking with a pitcher one batter too long. Snell labored all night -- again, 10 baserunners and 10 outs -- and Melvin tried to steal one more out with the left-on-left matchup even though Nimmo had taken good, productive swings against Snell all night.
Grisham went deep again
Two years ago Trent Grisham looked like a future All-Star. His game has regressed the last two years, however, and he bottomed out with a .184/.284/.341 line this season. That includes .177/.289/.333 against righties and .107/.167/.179 in August and September. Grisham had a dreadful regular season.
So, naturally, Grisham hit home runs against two of the best pitchers in the world in San Diego's first two postseason games. He took Max Scherzer deep in Game 1, then got deGrom in Game 2. This is not a bad pitch at all (at 100.3 mph, it is the fastest pitch hit for a homer by a Padre since Statcast launched 2015). Tip your cap to Grisham:
Between his Wild Card Game error in the 2019 NL Wild Card Game and his home runs against Scherzer and deGrom these last two days, Grisham is cementing his status as an agent of postseason chaos. In all seriousness, he had a terrible regular season, but everyone starts October with a clean slate, and Grisham's taking advantage.
Díaz entered in the seventh
Mets manager Buck Showalter was not about to let his team's season end without using his best reliever again. He went to Edwin Díaz in the seventh inning in Game 2. Showalter used Díaz against the other team's best hitters in the eighth inning a few times in the regular season (with someone else getting the save), but never did he go to Díaz as early as the seventh.
In a win or go home game, everything's on the table, and Díaz was brought in to face the 8-9-1 hitters in the seventh. It was the earliest he'd entered a nine-inning game since Aug. 2, 2020. Díaz was able to pitch around a one-out single and get through the seventh on 19 pitches, including retiring the dangerous Juan Soto.
The offense gave Showalter the option of removing Díaz. Adrian Morejon loaded the bases with no outs and the Mets poured on four insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jeff McNeil had a two-run double, Eduardo Escobar a one-run single, and Daniel Vogelbach hit a sacrifice fly. That gave the Mets a seemingly comfortable 7-2 lead.
Apparently that 7-2 lead was not comfortable enough. Díaz returned to the mound in the eighth and got two outs on nine pitches before handing the game over to Adam Ottavino. Letting Díaz continue with a five-run lead when you have another elimination game in 24 hours is second guessable, but with the season on the line, I get it. Better safe than sorry.
Case in point: San Diego brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth! Ottavino loaded the bases and forced in a run with a hit batsman and three walks. Seth Lugo eventually got Josh Bell to ground out to end the game. It's fair to wonder whether Díaz will be compromised in any way in Game 3. We'll find out soon enough.
Game 3. Winner moves on to face the Dodgers in the NLDS, loser goes home for the winter. It'll be Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA) against Chris Bassitt (15-9, 3.42 ERA). That is the only game on the schedule Sunday. First pitch is schedule for 7:07 p.m. ET.
The Mets and Adam Ottavino are three outs away from forcing Game 3. It's 7-2 Mets.
Díaz done after two outs
The Mets stretched the lead to 7-2 and Edwin Díaz was asked to get two more outs. He threw 28 pitches total. Sending him back out there after the four-run inning rather than saving bullets for a potential Game 3 is certainly second guessable. With the season on the line, I get it. Once Díaz is out of the game, that's it. You can't unring that bell. Better to be safe than sorry.
It's 7-2 now and no one is warming for the Mets.
A two-run double for McNeil. It's 5-2 Mets.
Mets with a chance to break it open
Lefty Adrian Morejon has loaded the bases with no outs on a hit and two walks here in the seventh. Chance for the Mets to put a crooked number on the board and break the game open, and maybe allow Showalter to get Edwin Díaz out without throwing any more pitches.
Díaz gets through the 7th
Buck Showalter won't let his team's season end without using his best reliever again. Díaz came in to face the 8-9-1 hitters in the seventh and pitched around a one-out single. He got Soto to ground out to end the inning and threw 19 pitches. I assume he'll start the eighth inning. How long he goes will depend on the pitch count and game situation as much as anything.
Ruf got hit by a pitch, Terrance Gore pinch-run, then Tomas Nido hit into a first pitch double play. Gotta give Gore a chance to steal there. The Padres are dreadful at throwing out runners.
Díaz now warming
Jacob deGrom got handshakes in the dugout, so he's done for the night. Edwin Díaz is warming up now. Buck Showalter used him against the top of the lineup in the 8th inning and let someone else close several times this year. The top of the lineup is coming up next inning, but it's only the 7th inning. Hmmm.
I imagine it's Ottavino and Diaz the rest of the way now.
deGrom gets through the sixth. I wasn't sure he was going back out there.
PETE‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) October 9, 2022
Alonso answers back
The two teams have traded runs the last half innings. Right after Profar tied things back up, Pete Alonso gives the Mets the lead again with a solo homer against Nick Martinez. First pitch of the inning. The Mets badly need Alonso's bat to wake up. It's been pretty quiet the last 10 days or so.
🐻❄️🍎— New York Mets (@Mets) October 9, 2022
Profar drives in Grisham. This puppy is tied again.
Nick Martinez came in after Nimmo's single gave the Mets a 2-1 lead, and he was able to retire Starling Marte and Francisco Lindor on fly balls to escape the jam. The Mets have left a small army on base tonight. Seven runners stranded through four innings. And deGrom just walked Grisham to begin the fifth. Five of the last 10 Padres have reached base.