SAN DIEGO — Seldom has a series split felt like such a win for the Mets.
Banged up and still wondering from where much of the offense will generate on a daily basis, the Mets came to Petco Park to face a National League powerhouse, lost two close games and then unleashed the 1-2 punch of Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.
After deGrom dominated with seven scoreless innings in a win, Stroman on Sunday turned in his best all-around performance of the season, surrendering only an unearned run over 6 ²/₃ frames and delivering an RBI double in the Mets’ 6-2 victory over the Padres.
The Mets will spend the off day in Baltimore having survived the biggest challenge of this nine-game road trip. A rematch series with the Padres will be awaiting when they return to Citi Field on Friday. The Mets are 4-3 on the road trip after winning two of three games in Arizona to start the week.
Stroman used a combination of sinkers, cutters and sliders to keep the Padres off-balance. The right-hander allowed four hits and walked four, with seven strikeouts, continuing the rotation’s strong work, spearheaded by deGrom and his 0.62 ERA. The Mets entered Sunday with a 2.90 ERA from their starting rotation, which ranked first in MLB.
Dominic Smith and James McCann each homered, giving the Mets multiple blasts in consecutive games. McCann’s two-run rocket in the eighth gave the Mets their final scoring. McCann’s homer was his fifth in his last 11 games.
Stroman ripped an RBI double in the seventh that gave the Mets a 4-1 lead. Stroman celebrated with a quick dance before turning and pointing toward the bullpen. Jose Peraza’s two-out bunt single resuscitated the inning.
The Padres scored an unearned run in the sixth. Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a squib that Stroman fielded and lobbed to first, bouncing past Pete Alonso. The play got messier as Alonso raced into foul territory to retrieve the ball and in his haste to make a throw, spiked it near his feet. Tatis Jr., reached third and scored on Eric Hosmer’s groundout.
Billy McKinney’s RBI single in the third against Chris Paddack got the Mets their first run. Peraza doubled leading off the inning and took third on Stroman’s sacrifice bunt before McKinney’s first single with the Mets — his other six hits had been for extra bases — drove in the run.
Smith continued his recent surge with a homer to center in the fourth that extended the Mets’ lead to 2-0. The homer was the fourth of the season for Smith, who entered with a .391 on-base percentage since May 1 after a slow start.
McKinney was in the middle of a rally in the sixth that produced a run. After delivering a leadoff single and stealing second, McKinney scored on Alonso’s RBI single that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. The RBI for Alonso was his team-leading 25th of the season.
Stroman escaped trouble in the fourth by getting Webster Rivas to hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Wil Myers walked, sandwiched in between singles by Hosmer and Ha-Seong Kim, before Stroman got Rivas to hit a roller to third. Brandon Drury touched the base with his glove and fired to first, ending the inning.
Miguel Castro fired 1 ¹/₃ scoreless innings behind Stroman. Trevor May allowed one run on two hits in the ninth.