MLB wild card series: Mets come alive to get Jacob deGrom a win, force Game 3 vs. Padres

Andrew Tredinnick

NEW YORK — With the season teetering, the stars aligned for the Mets in a win-or-go-home Game 2 in the Wild Card Series.

After a clunker of a loss in Game 1 as Max Scherzer turned in his worst postseason outing and the offense went almost completely silent, Jacob deGrom delivered in his first playoff start in Citi Field and the top of the Mets' lineup eased the tension with a trio of primetime performances.

Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso delivered the Mets' first six hits, including a pair of home runs, and the rest of the offense exploded in the seventh inning to lift the Mets to a 7-3 victory over the Padres in the second game of the best-of-three Wild Card Series in front of a sold-out crowd of 42,156 fans at Citi Field.

"We've been trying to play like ourselves," Lindor said. "It's just it's baseball. We have good days. We have bad days. We try to eliminate as many bad days as possible and try to have more good days.

"Like I said earlier, today we played very Mets-like. We put the ball in play. We run the bases right. We play good defense. We pitch. We stay together, and we win together."

Pete Alonso celebrates his go-ahead homer in the fifth inning with Mark Canha.

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The Mets rattled the Padres pitching staff, including starter Blake Snell, to the tune of nine walks, and cashed in when it mattered to chance the vibe after Game 1's disappointment.

With the Mets leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Lindor singled and Pete Alonso and Mark Canha drew back-to-back walks, National League batting champion Jeff McNeil delivered the biggest hit of the season with a two-run double through the right side off Padres reliever Adrian Morejon to give the Mets some breathing room.

"He fell behind 2-0, so I know he doesn’t want to walk me in that situation," McNeil said. "I’m trying to get a good pitch to hit. I’m not trying to do too much there. I just want to find some barrel on the ball and found a hole."

Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach each drove in a run each in the frame.

Now, the Mets season will be on the line once again with Chris Bassitt on the mound in an elimination Game 3 at 7:07 p.m. on Sunday.

Jacob deGrom's last stand?

It may have been the last time that fans heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" as deGrom took the mound in the Mets' home whites.

Several times throughout the season, DeGrom announced his intentions to opt out of the fifth and final year of his $137.5 million contract.

With the Mets' season on the verge of a conclusion and his future in doubt, deGrom needed to rise up to ensure that he would have a chance to pitch again on a bigger stage this season.

"I guess that went into my mind, but the hope was we'd win a baseball game and continue to keep playing," deGrom said. "Like I said yesterday, the goal was to put us in a position to win or give us a chance and pass it on to (Chris) Bassitt. So our guys did a good job of coming out and putting together good at-bats and getting Blake out of there early and putting up some runs late."

DeGrom did his part to extend the Mets' season, finishing with two earned runs allowed on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts across six innings.

When the intensity ratcheted up, deGrom was able to provide a sense of relief.

In the top of the third inning after giving up a solo home run to Trent Grisham — his second of the series — deGrom walked Jurickson Profar and gave up a single to Juan Soto. After falling behind 2-1 to Manny Machado, the Mets ace battled back and got him to swing through a high fastball for the final out of the inning.

The Padres drew even again in the top of the fifth inning after deGrom issued a leadoff walk to Grisham and an RBI single from Profar off the first-base line. Soto gave the Padres runners on the corners with another single.

But deGrom was able to strike out Machado and Josh Bell to preserve the lead.

"It was just trying to slow everything down, like I said, and really execute, try not to leave everything over the middle and throw it where I needed to throw it," deGrom said. "I was fortunate enough that I was able to do that in (the third and fifth)."

DeGrom went back out with 90 pitches and notched a 1-2-3 sixth inning on nine pitches.

New life for the offense

One night after Yu Darvish tormented the Mets and left six runners stranded, including three at third base, the lineup punched back against Blake Snell.

And the big names produced.

In the opening inning, Lindor gave the Mets their first lead of the series with a solo home run to left field. After Grisham's home run tied up the game, Escobar and Darin Ruf drew back-to-back walks and Nimmo lined an opposite-field RBI single to left.

The Mets made Blake Snell work hard, running him from the game after 3⅓ innings by drawing six walks and collecting four hits.

"Not just the hits, you look at the quality of pitches that guys were fouling off, that guys were — borderline pitching guys were taking, working walks. This was a huge complete win," Alonso said. "When we say Mets baseball, it's just we did everything — we did the fundamentals extremely well. That's going to be good momentum going into tomorrow."

That allowed the Mets to break through against the Padres bullpen. When the Padres got level once again in the top of the fifth, Alonso delivered a no-doubt solo shot off Nick Martinez in the bottom of the frame.

"Being able to come up clutch in a spot like that to get the lead, I mean, that was awesome," Alonso said. "Hopefully I can hit a few more like that tomorrow and moving forward. So I'm just really happy I was able to help the team."

Nimmo was 3-for-4 with a pair of opposite-field singles and an infield hit, while Lindor finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and Alonso drew a pair of walks in addition to his fifth-inning long ball.

Early trumpets for Edwin Diaz

Buck Showalter wanted to protect the lead at all costs.

That meant the home fans were totally unprepared for closer Edwin Diaz's entrance in the top of the seventh inning with the Mets leading 3-2.

The move worked out. After giving up a one-out single to Austin Nola, Diaz got back-to-back ground balls to the right side to preserve the one-run lead.

"From my role, I can learn every  situation I come in is a high-pressure situation," Diaz said. "It can be like today, I came in the seventh and it was high pressure, we were winning by one run and I was feeling great. I think this is our game. I’ve got to take care of business right now and that’s what I did."

But did Diaz's outing come at a cost? With the Mets leading 7-2, Diaz went back out to pitch the top of the eighth against the heart of the Padres order. He gloved a sharp grounder by Machado and struck out Jake Cronenworth after walking Josh Bell.

Diaz needed 28 pitches to get through 1⅔ innings. He helped deliver the Mets to the win, but the question now is if he will be available for the team in an all-important Game 3 on Sunday.

"I will feel great because I feel great every time," Diaz said. "If they need me more than three outs, I’ll be ready because we have to win tomorrow."

Adam Ottavino came on and did everything but get the final out. He picked up a pair of strikeouts and a fly ball but issued three walks and hit a batter to load the bases and give up a run. Seth Lugo made the final out.