Without a little bit of luck, you just might lose. Jon Niese may not have been as sharp as usual, only striking out three in six innings of work, but he didn't really deserve to give up three runs, either.
The Mets missed a very good chance to score in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the inning, their defense made it possible for the Padres to score the first two runs of the game. With one out, Logan Forsythe hit a long fly ball to right-center field, a ball that Angel Pagan could have caught had he not pulled up short as the ball bounced off the warning track in front of him and over the fence for a ground-rule double.
Jesus Guzman was the first of Niese's three strikeout victims, but Kyle Blanks then singled on a ball that David Wright fielded but couldn't get to first in time to end the inning. With runners on the corners, Orlando Hudson squeaked a single through the right side of the infield to plate San Diego's first run, and Nick Hundley singled, too, to put the Padres up by a pair of runs. There's no telling what would have happened if Pagan had caught the Forsythe fly ball, but the Padres' odds of scoring would have certainly been greatly reduced.
Niese and Cory Luebke each threw scoreless second and third innings, but the Mets finally got on the board with a hop that went their way in the fourth inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Ruben Tejada doubled on a ball that hit third base, and one run scored.
The Padres got the run right back in the bottom of the fourth, though, as Hundley led off with a triple to right field, assisted by Scott Hairston's woeful attempt to field the ball. It was one of several plays on which Hairston looked shaky in right field. Aaron Cunningham hit a sacrifice fly to score Hundley and put the Padres back in front by two.
Niese and Luebke each threw a pair of scoreless innings again, and the game was handed over to the bullpens. Even without Mike Adams, it's pretty obvious that the Padres have the advantage in that department.
Pedro Beato, whose presence on the roster is clearly a result of his Rule 5 status, began the seventh inning by allowing a home run to Cameron Maybin. Guzman doubled with one out, and Hudson singled with two outs to score another run, more or less putting the game out of reach at 5-1.
In the eighth inning, Terry Collins went back into wacky west coast mode and used Mike Pelfrey in relief. Much like Jon Niese's appearance out of the bullpen in San Francisco, it didn't go well. Big Pelf allowed Hundley's second triple, got an out, and gave up a single to Alberto Gonzalez to make it 6-1 in favor of San Diego. Collins turned to lefty specialist Tim Byrdak, who did his job by striking out Will Venable, and D.J. Carrasco, who got Maybin to ground out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Padres' bullpen was quietly doing its thing, retiring the Mets with relative ease. Chad Qualls, Luke Gregerson, and Erik Hamren threw a scoreless inning a piece.
The series concludes tomorrow at 6:35 pm.
Big winners: Ruben Tejada, +18.9% WPA
Big losers: Jon Niese, -16.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ruben Tejada rib-eye double in the fourth, +13.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Orlando Hudson rib-eye single in the first, -10.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -23.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -26.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Nick Hundley
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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