The Mets, with their backs to the wall, facing a wild-card elimination game against the Padres, sent ace Jacob deGrom to the mound. We didn’t see the vintage deGrom of his 2018-2019 Cy Young Award winning seasons, but neither did we see the deGrom of the last two weeks, fortunately. The Mets bats woke up, and the series was tied up at a game apiece.
Francisco Lindor got the Mets off to a good start, burying a Blake Snell pitch into the left field stands to put the Mets up 1-0 in the first. deGrom cruised through the first two innings, retiring the first six batters and regularly hitting 100 mph on the radar gun. However in the third Trent Grisham homered to knot up the contest 1-1.
The Mets regained the lead in the fourth when Brandon Nimmo lined an RBI single to left, plating Edwardo Escobar. The Padres came right back in the top of the fifth when Jurickson Profar singled home a run to tie it up again at 2-2.
Pete Alonso belted a homer to left off reliever Nick Martinez in the fifth to make it a 3-2 game. deGrom pitched through the sixth inning, but after 99 pitches and 8 K’s he was done. Thinking outside the box, Manager Buck Showalter brought closer Edwin Diaz to pitch in the seventh, and he tossed a scoreless frame.
The Mets broke it open in the bottom of the seventh. Lindor singled, Alonso and Mark Canha drew bases on balls to load the bases. Jeff McNeil lashed a double to drive home two runs. Eduardo Escobar and Tomas Nido each had an RBI single, and sandwiched between them was a Daniel Vogelbach pinch-hit sac fly. The Mets were in control with a 7-2 lead.
Diaz returned in the eighth, and retired the two batters he faced. Adam Ottavino recorded the third out. In the ninth things got a little to close for comfort. Ottavino lost the strike zone and the Padres loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman. Manny Machado then walked to tighten the score at 7-3. Showalter had seen enough and he sent in Seth Lugo to relieve, and the veteran curve ball specialist got the last out to end the game.
deGrom got the win, Nimmo had another good game going 3 for 4, and the Mets had timely hitting going 3 for 10 with RISP. The crowd of 42,156 at Citi Field endured a four hour and 13 minute contest, but they were rewarded with a home team victory.
Sunday night will decide who gets to play the Dodgers in the next round. It will be all hands on deck for both teams, although Diaz, after 1 ⅔ IP pitched, will have to be used sparingly if at all.