Fernando Tatis Jr. and Yu Darvish are two key reasons why the San Diego Padres are a contender, and the New York Mets learned that lesson in game one of their series. Both left their marks all over the Padres 4-3 victory to give themselves the upper hand in their four-game series.
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Darvish made it look easy on both sides of the ball throughout his start. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, and struck out five. Darvish stayed true to his usual game plan of spinning the ball in and out of the zone while reaching back for his mid-90s fastball when he needed the boost. Offensively, Darvish turns into a weapon against the Mets as he recorded two hits, including a double. He now has 13 hits in his career, and five have come against the Mets.
Tatis Does It All
Tatis Jr.’s status for the game was originally in question due to injury, and he made the Mets wish he were not in the lineup. He opened up the Padres scoring with a two-run homer in the third inning that center fielder Mason Williams could not keep in his glove during his leaping attempt. Tatis Jr. later used his legs to get the Padres their fourth run on a wild pitch which barely squibbed away from catcher James McCann. The run ended up paying dividends as it the extra run the Padres needed to win.
Taijuan Walker struggled throughout his start but battled enough to make it through five innings. He allowed seven hits, four runs, four walks and needed 104 pitches to get through the outing. Manager Luis Rojas had an opportunity to pinch hit for Walker in the fifth inning, down three, with two runners on but let him hit. After needing all but one out from his bullpen on Wednesday, it was a no-brainer to squeeze another inning from Walker.
Coming Up Short
James McCann’s two-run homer was the only damage the Mets had off of Darvish. After falling behind 4-2, the Mets were on the brink of tying the game multiple times once Darvish exited. In the sixth, Tatis Jr.’s error loaded the bases for pinch hitter Pete Alonso, but he grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Billy McKinney‘s eighth-inning RBI triple with two outs moved the Mets to within one, but that was it.
In the ninth inning, the Mets got the first two runners on against closer Mark Melancon. The league leader in saves recorded a fielder’s choice and a Kevin Pillar double play to allow the Padres to escape with a win. This matchup was a prime example of the tight, competitive matchups we should expect going forward from both teams. With the loss, the Mets NL East lead drops to 3.5 games over the Atlanta Braves.