With an all-around display of offense, defense and pitching, the Mets moved one game closer to clinching an inevitable playoff berth by slamming the Padres, 6-3, at Citi Field on Tuesday.
OK, so maybe we misspoke about the whole playoff-clinching thing. But misspeaking happens.
The Mets, however, did win with a nice blend of hitting, defending and pitching. The offense included a three-run double by Devin Mesoraco plus a two-run homer by Michael Conforto. In right field, Jose Bautista made a fine running catch early, which he turned into a double play. And Zack Wheeler, the object of so much trade speculation, won his second straight start by yielding two runs and four hits over seven innings.
Now the Mets, who entered with the worst home winning percentage in the National League, are in position — with a victory Wednesday — to win a series for the first time since May 18-20. In 17 series since, they have failed to win a single one.
So the night contained something of a rare occurrence in Queens — the Mets won at home, only the eighth time in their past 30 starts at Citi Field that they have done so.
But of course there remained the familiar for the Mets in terms of medical crisis. Yoenis Cespedes, who came off the disabled list following his quad injury on Friday, went back on the DL. This time, Cespedes was sidelined for the calcification problem in his heels, which set off something of a firestorm the past week.
The Mets also promoted infielders Phil Evans and Jeff McNeil while Ty Kelly was designated for assignment. McNeil, in his major league debut, pinch hit for Evans and singled on the first pitch he saw in the eighth.
“Routine” and “Mets” rarely collide in the same day. Or week. Or ever.
But they wasted little time in battering Padres’ starter Eric Lauer (5-7). A walk to Amed Rosario and singles by Wilmer Flores and Conforto loaded the bases in the first. Mesoraco then drilled a double into the leftfield corner for a 3-0 lead.
Bautista helped keep the lead at 3-0 with a running catch in right against Freddy Galvis in the third inning. Eric Hosmer, who singled, was running on a 3-2 pitch and was easily doubled off first. The inning, though, saw the Padres break through.
With the bases loaded and two out, Wil Myers singled to left. One run scored easily but Conforto fired home and Manuel Margot was called out. Catcher Mesoraco threw to third and Carlos Asuaje, who pretty much gave up running, was tagged out. What looked like an unnecessary move became important went the play at the plate was reviewed and overturned. Margot was safe so Asuaje became the third out of the inning and it was 3-2, Mets.
Conforto made it 5-2 with a monster two-run blast to right, his 13th homer. Rosario tripled with two out in the fourth and scored on Cabrera’s single for a 6-2 lead. Myers doubled in a ninth-inning run for the Padres against Seth Lugo.
Wheeler (4-6) worked at least seven innings for a second straight start and fourth in six outings. He walked one, struck out three.
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