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Mets avenge October by taking the rubber game against the Padres

Lindor and Alonso homer and Nimmo shines as the Mets take two out of three from a talented San Diego squad

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Taking their first series of the season against a quality opponent (sorry, Marlins fans), the Mets beat the Padres 5-2 Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field. This rubber game had less on the line than the rubber game that ended their 2022 season, but considering the Mets’ early-season struggles, a series win over the Padres still felt sweet.

It didn’t look good from the start, however. Juan Soto opened the game by sending a Tylor Megill fastball to Shea Bridge for a two-run home run, giving the Padres an early 2-0 lead and a boost to his slow-starting season. The Mets responded in the bottom of the first by stranding the bases loaded without scoring a run for the second-straight game, wasting singles from Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso and a walk from Starling Marte. For a team seemingly allergic to sending runners home, it was at least a familiar start.

The Mets took one back with two outs and Tommy Pham on second in the bottom of the second, with Soto and Trent Grisham misplaying a Nimmo fly ball to left-center field. The box score graciously gives Nimmo the double, but the run should be charged to Soto’s defensive lapse. Whatever the ruling, the Mets took a 2-1 deficit into the third inning.

Francisco Lindor closed the gap in the bottom of the third with a solo home run just to the right of the left-field foul pole, his second of the year. Walks to Mark Canha and Jeff McNeil gave the Mets an opportunity to take the lead with one out, but a Pham double play ended the inning.

The Padres offense didn’t fare better in the middle innings. Megill settled down after the Soto home run, finishing with three hits allowed, three walks, and three strikeouts over the next four innings. Good infield defense helped keep the Padres off the board, and Megill’s efficient outing paced him pitch-for-pitch against former Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Alonso rewarded Megill’s effort with his sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth, giving Alonso the league’s top spot and the Mets a 3-2 lead. This home run puts Alonso on pace for 74 home runs this season, a reasonable mark that anyone should expect him to hit.

The Mets loaded the bases with no outs once again in the bottom of the sixth, but Tomás Nido almost canceled the opportunity on the next pitch by bouncing a hard ground ball to Manny Machado, who stepped on third and threw McNeil out at home for a backbreaking double play. The play was turned so quickly that a triple play looked likely, only to be thwarted by McNeil smartly slowing down and forcing a lengthy tag at home plate. When it seemed another wasted inning was brewing, a two-out RBI single from Nimmo salvaged one run, scoring Escobar and giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

The bullpen relay of Brooks Raley, Drew Smith, David Robertson, and Adam Ottavino seduced scares in the late innings, but all combined for twelve outs without allowing a run. The Mets recorded another two-out RBI in the seventh inning with Pham driving in Alonso from second base on a ground ball between short and third, giving Pham his fourth RBI of the season.

After another frustrating first inning, the Mets settled down and plucked away at the Padres, scoring one run in five separate innings and holding the Padres talented offense to just six hits. Megill deservedly earned his third win of the season, while Ottavino recorded his first save by forcing a game-ending ground ball double play from Machado.

The Mets have a day off tomorrow as they travel to California, starting a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Friday.

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Win Probability Added


What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo +25% WPA

Big Mets loser: Tomás Nido, -18.6% WPA

Mets pitchers: +22.1% WPA

Mets hitters: +27.9% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso dinger, +17.6% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Juan Soto dinger, -18.8% WPA