Padres deGrom-inated by Mets in 7-3 loss

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Credit: AP Photo

With a chance to win the Wild Card round, Blake Snell struggled to find the zone, and the San Diego Padres struck out too many times in a 7-3 loss to the New York Mets.

The two squads will face off in a win-or-go-home Game 3 on Sunday.

Snell got the start for San Diego after his terrific second half of the season. The version of Snell Padres fans became accustomed to never showed up at Citi Field but limited the damage despite walking six batters. Francisco Lindor got to him early with a monstrous home run in the first inning. After Snell escaped the second and third innings without runs, his inefficiency and high pitch count caught up to him in the fourth inning. With one out, Brandon Nimmo shot a ball down the left field line to chase Snell.

“I’m good enough where I should be able to go at least five,” Snell said. “It’s gonna be a frustrating one. I’m not gonna be able to sleep; I know that. It’s frustrating, but we’ve got a good team here. Win one tomorrow, and give me another opportunity.”

A diving stop by Jurickson Profar in left field and heroics from Nick Martinez limited the damage to just that.

Facing the best starter in the league when healthy, Jacob deGrom, the Padres’ offense, did enough to stay in the game early. Trent Grisham tied the game in the third inning at one with a solo home run. With it, Grisham became the third Padre to hit a home run in back-to-back postseason games.

In the fifth inning, Grisham walked, and Profar singled with an Austin Nola sacrifice bunt sandwiched in between to tie the game at two. After Juan Soto singled, Manny Machado came up with Padres at the corners and just one out. He struck out, as did Josh Bell, to end their best chance at taking the lead.

The next pitch, Martinez’s first to Alonso to lead off the bottom of the fifth, got launched out to left field for a homer, and the Mets took a 3-2 lead and never looked back. After deGrom got through six innings, Edwin Diaz, who will win the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award, got Soto to ground out to end the seventh inning, with Nola representing the tying run at second base.

Adrian Morejon entered for the bottom of the seventh. He recorded zero outs and got charged with four earned runs after Pierce Johnson couldn’t clean up his mess. The half-inning took 45 minutes, and it felt longer than that.

At 7-2 with Diaz still in the game, the Padres chances were bleak. A ninth-inning rally brought Bell to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, down by four runs. As the tying run, he grounded out to end the game.

If it is any consolation, Diaz and Adam Ottavino both threw plenty of pitches and will likely be available for shorter roles than the Mets would like on Sunday.

When San Diego native Joe Musgrove takes the mound Sunday evening, it will have been 4,399 days since the last time the Padres played in a winner-go-home matchup in front of fans. Musgrove, a Grossmont High School alum, surely remembers that day from his days as a Padres fan while he prepared for his senior season of high school.

“I think this team takes a lot of confidence with Joe,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said.

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Mat Latos lost that game to the 2010 Giants when Will Venable struck out on a Brian Wilson high fastball. Those Giants won the World Series after the Padres blew a sizable division lead, just as the Mets did this season.

Tension will be high when Chris Bassitt toes the rubber for the 4:07 PT first pitch.

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