In the third game of the series in New York, the Padres had the daunting challenge of facing last year’s Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom. With a fastball in the high 90s, a nasty slider, and pinpoint control, deGrom worked around a single by Manny Machado and dispatched the Padres’ hitters. He needed only 13 pitches in the top of the first to do so.
In Eric Lauer’s first opportunity since the loss of his father to pitch on regular rest and in the comfort zone of his routine, he just didn’t have it. A combination of a walk, single, double and sacrifice fly on 30 pitches by Lauer put the Mets ahead 4-0. Those four runs were all the Mets needed to dispatch the Padres.
In the bottom of the second, Lauer got two quick outs on a deGrom fly out and a strikeout to Amed Rosario, but J.D. Davis doubled. Lauer intentionally walked Pete Alonso, and a fly ball off the bat of Wilson Ramos to Margot ended the threat as Lauer’s pitch count continued to mount.
Lauer started the bottom of the third having thrown 41 pitches and continued to fall behind in the count and not hit his spots. After he gave up a one-out walk to Todd Frazier and a long single to Michael Conforto, manager Andy Green had seen enough and pulled the left-hander from the game. Reliever Luis Perdomo took the mound with one out and runners on the corner. A strikeout and runner caught off second ended the Met’s threat.
The Padres then sent rookie Adrian Morejon to the mound. On his first three pitches, he induced two groundouts, but Todd Frazier singled on a high fastball for his second hit of the game, bringing up Conforto who struck out.
By the top of the sixth, the Padres had managed just two hits. Greg Garcia pinch-hit and worked a walk, the first one issued by deGrom. Fernando Tatis Jr., who had grounded out twice, struck out after hitting the ground to avoid a pitch up and in. Manuel Margot popped up, but Machado hit a well-placed flare to right, moving Garcia to second. With two on, two outs, Eric Hosmer worked the count to 3-1. Lagares misjudged a fly to right at first but managed to nab the ball and end the Padres’ first real threat.
In a surprising move, manager Andy Green pulled Margot from the game in the top of the sixth, sending pinch hitter Garcia to left and Renfroe to center. Reliever Logan Allen took the mound, and Davis grounded out, Lagares singled, deGrom struck out, and Rosario walked. Allen then induced a ground ball out from Alonso to keep the score at 4-0.
Seth Lugo, one of the few bright spots in the Mets’ bullpen, replaced deGrom who threw a total of 105 pitches. Lugo hadn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances. He induced a ground out from Garcia and struck out Tatis Jr. (for his second strikeout of the game). Pinch hitter Wil Myers also went down swinging.
Another rookie pitcher, Michel Baez, started the bottom of the eighth inning. Rosario lined out to Renfroe in center, and Davis struck out swinging. But a change-up got away from Baez, and he hit Alonso. Ramos then singled sending Alonso to second. A pitch off the plate scooted off Mejia’s glove for a wild pitch sending the runners to second and third with two outs. Facing Robinson Cano, Baez fell behind 3-0, and intentionally walked him to load the bases. But Baez got out of the jam by striking out Frazier swinging.
Met’s manager Mickey Callaway sent closer Edwin Diaz to the mound in a non-save situation in the top of the ninth with New York leading 4-0. A sharp grounder by Machado hit Diaz on the left ankle, removing him from the game and getting deeper into the Met’s bullpen, a weak spot for New York. Luis Avilan and his 6.91 ERA replaced Diaz on the mound. With Machado on first, Hosmer struck out swinging for his third strikeout of the day. Renfroe worked the count to 3-1, fouling off two balls but struck out. Machado moved to third on Reyes’ first hit of the day. With runners on the corner, Avilan faced off against Mejia, who flew out to Conforto in right to end the game and complete the shutout for the Mets.
The four-run first inning for the Mets set the tone of the game. At one-point, deGrom dispatched 12 Padre hitters in a row.
After the team packs up, the Padres will travel across the country and face the surging San Francisco Giants and the Baltimore Orioles at home. The team will get a day off before heading up the freeway to play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
San Diego was in the running for a Wild-Card spot earlier in the season but now have fallen to 3-9 since the All-Star break.
Baseball has been a part of Diane’s life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.