In what’s labeled as a “getaway game” in baseball, the Mets seemed early on like a team in a rush to do just that.
But after their first 12 hitters were set down in order on just 36 pitches by the Padres’ Clayton Richard, the Mets’ aggressiveness turned into runs as they put together a four-run fifth inning in a 6-4 victory over the Padres at Citi Field Wednesday afternoon.
With the victory, the Mets did what they hadn’t done since May 18-20 — win a series. It was the team’s first series victory since a three-game home sweep of the Diamondbacks May 18-20. They had gone 17 series without winning one.
“Taking two out of three is nice and I think that’s a steppingstone to where we want to get to,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’re going to go out there and win series and that’s what our goal has been all season.
“It hasn’t happened, obviously, very much lately — or at all lately until today — but I think that’s a good stepping-stone for us.”
The game lasted only two hours, 18 minutes after a 36-minute rain delay and now the Mets head to Pittsburgh for a four-game series starting Thursday against the surging Pirates, who had won 11 straight before losing on Wednesday.
The Padres (42-63) struck first in the second inning when Eric Hosmer led off with a single and scored on a double play. San Diego made it 2-0 in the fourth on Austin Hedges’ home run off starter Corey Oswalt that was just out of the reach of centerfielder Brandon Nimmo.
Aggressiveness by the Mets (42-57) fueled the rally in the fifth. Kevin Plawecki and pinch hitter Phillip Evans each delivered first-pitch, run-scoring singles to tie the score. Jose Reyes who also singled in the inning, completed a double steal with Evans, and both scored on Amed Rosario’s single to centerfield that gave the Mets a 4-2 advantage.
“He makes the ball look really good and then it drops down to your knees,” Brandon Nimmo said of Richard. “So I think you just saw guys just getting used to him a little bit that first time around the order and then guys the second time, third time through really started to elevate him, and that’s what you’re trying to do with him.”
After Wilmer Flores walked to lead off the sixth, Jose Bautista extended the lead to 6-2 with a 429-foot, two-run home run nearly sent to the second deck in left-centerfield.
Oswalt (1-2) jammed his hand on a swing in the third inning but threw five innings, allowing two runs and three hits with two walks and four strikeouts for his first major-league victory.
“I just tried to battle through,” Oswalt said, “and keep us in the game.”
Mets reliever Tim Peterson allowed a two-run homer to Freddy Galvis in the seventh, but that was it as Robert Gsellman got the final two outs in the inning and Anthony Swarzak allowed one hit and struck out three in two shutout frames for his second save of the season.
“Some young guys really stepped up right there, so that’s fun,” Nimmo said. “That’s impressive and gives confidence going forward.”