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Mets held to one hit in seven innings by Blake Snell in loss to Padres

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell reacts

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell reacts after getting the third out during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Mets, Friday, June 4, 2021, in San Diego. Credit: AP/Gregory Bull

SAN DIEGO — Give the Mets this: At least they didn’t get no-hit.

They lost to the Padres, 2-0, on Friday night after San Diego lefthander Blake Snell struck out 10 in seven innings and allowed just one hit — which he followed immediately with his best pitching of the day.

"Blake Snell was nasty," manager Luis Rojas said. "He had special stuff and good command. He dealt against us."

Francisco Lindor added: "He’s a really good pitcher. Hats off to him. They had a really good scouting report today."

 

And Padres manager Jayce Tingler: "Super-impressive."

The Mets (27-23) didn’t have a baserunner until the fifth, when Billy McKinney walked with two outs. They didn’t have a hit until the seventh, when Lindor led off with a single.

Lindor ended up on third because leftfielder Tommy Pham — who seemed to hesitate in pursuing the sinking line drive but realistically had no chance to catch it — let it skip by him for a two-base error. It rolled almost to the wall.

The Mets failed to make it mean anything, though. James McCann struck out swinging. Pete Alonso popped out to first baseman Eric Hosmer in foul territory. Brandon Drury struck out swinging.

That left a fired-up Snell, having completed his longest game of the season by innings and pitches (101), screaming and pumping his fist on his way off the mound.

"They all got their chances and missed them," Rojas said of the seventh-inning sequence. "That’s the kind of night he had against us."

The Mets had two of their three hits in the ninth: a one-out single by Lindor and a two-out single by Alonso. But Mark Melancon struck out Kevin Pillar, McCann and Drury in the inning for his majors-leading 19th save.

McCann and Rojas were ejected in the ninth by plate umpire Quinn Wolcott for arguing balls and strikes after an iffy called strike three on McCann for the penultimate out.

For Rojas and perhaps McCann, it was the climax of frustration that had built throughout the game. Wolcott had a bunch of questionable ball/strike calls. The ones that went against the Mets seemed to come in big moments.

"I kept yelling from the dugout, multiple times, trying to make a point," Rojas said. "Then we get to the top of the ninth there in that tight spot, and I know Mac’s got a pretty good zone. He knows what’s been going on for the game, for the entire game, just catching. That’s where my frustration was."

It was a remarkable turnaround for Snell, a former American League Cy Young Award winner who entered the game with a 5.55 ERA. He was averaging 4 1/3 innings per start. In his past two, he totaled 6 2/3 innings and 12 earned runs in two losses for the Padres (36-23).

The Mets were a little unlucky, too. Pillar flied out to the warning track in left to begin the game and later lined out hard — 109 mph — to shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Lindor also smacked a long fly ball, but it stopped at the warning track in center. Alonso had two batted balls over 100 mph; both became outs.

"The guys were on his fastball and slider, but the second time [through the lineup] when he started introducing that curveball, that’s when he started getting better," Rojas said.

Facing the team that traded him to the Mets in January, lefthander Joey Lucchesi lasted 4 2/3 innings — his longest outing of the year — and gave up one run, on Manny Machado’s no-doubter home run in the first inning. It landed in a small area of the second deck in leftfield called the "Longball Section."

Although he allowed a bunch of hard-hit balls, Lucchesi avoided further damage, scattering four hits. He struck out three and walked one.

"I had good stuff but just one bad pitch to Manny," he said. " I locked it down a little bit after that. That’s a really good lineup. Knowing I kept it to one run as long as I could, it felt good. Because that’s a good lineup."

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