SAN DIEGO — After losing their first two games, it was in doubt whether the Mets would depart from San Diego feeling good about a competitive four-game series. But the Mets roared back, won the final two and salvaged a series split with the Padres to improve to 4-3 on their three-city road trip.
Marcus Stroman pitched 6.2 innings and struck out seven in the Mets’ 6-2 win over the Padres on Sunday. He uncharacteristically administered a season-high four walks, including two to Tommy Pham who reached base three times against Stroman, but for the most part kept the Padres away from the dish.
The Mets (29-23) stretched their first-place lead in the National League East with a 3.5-game advantage over the second-place Atlanta Braves. They’ve won eight of their last 11 games, with a two-game set against the worst team in the American League, the Orioles, remaining in the final leg of their nine-game trip away from Citi Field.
“The two wins are huge,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We know how talented these guys are and that it was going to be an interesting and exciting series. I’m really proud of the guys just doing what they’ve done the last two games, our pitching. Jake [deGrom] was outstanding, along with our relievers and then today, we give up only two runs. To quiet those bats, it’s remarkable.
“We leave here with a good taste because we’re playing really good baseball. We stay consistent with the formula and that’s giving us a chance to win games.”
The Amazin’s struggled against the Padres pitching staff to begin the series, notching a combined five hits against Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. The Mets got to Joe Musgrove, who threw a no-hitter against the Rangers in April, on Saturday and tabbed him for three runs. In the series finale on Sunday, the Mets collected three runs on six hits off Chris Paddack, including a home run from Dominic Smith.
The offense’s 10-hit day negated defensive miscues from Stroman and Pete Alonso, who combined for two errors on one play in the sixth inning. Throwing errors from each led to the Padres’ first run of the game, but Stroman made up for it with an RBI double of his own in the top of the seventh inning. A ripped line drive into the left field corner was his sixth-career base hit and it padded the Mets’ lead.
“I’m not a great hitter, so anytime I get on base it’s always a celebration,” Stroman said.
A day after Jacob deGrom pulled a Houdini trick and escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam with a pair of strikeouts, Stroman received help from his third baseman, Brandon Drury, to get out of the same sticky situation. With the bases juiced, Padres catcher Webster Rivas knocked a liner to Drury, who snagged it, touched third base with his glove and fired a throw — from his knees — to first for the 5-3 double play.
The Mets, at the time, preserved their two-run lead thanks to Drury’s glove work.
“That was huge. I thanked him about a million times throughout the game,” Stroman said of Drury’s play. “That was a huge momentum shift right there when I’m able to get out of that inning pretty much unscatched from him diving, tagging the bag and making the throw across the diamond.”