SAN DIEGO — With their 6-2 win against the Padres on Sunday, salvaging a split of the four-gamer series after losing the first two, the Mets did something they haven’t done much of this year: Play well against a good team.
For all their success, despite all their injuries, the Mets entered the weekend with just two wins in 12 games against above-.500 teams (Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, Rays).
This series was different. Still missing half of their starting position players, the Mets played the Padres tight in losses Thursday and Friday, then rebounded behind strong efforts by Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.
The Mets (29-23) and Padres (36-25) meet again for a three-game series at Citi Field next weekend.
"We want to win every game, right?" manager Luis Rojas said. "But from being down 0-2 to winning the last two, I’m very proud of how the guys kept playing and how they keep their head up."
Dominic Smith added: "I’m not satisfied. We won two out of four. That’s not what we looked to do coming into San Diego."
Stroman fought through 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, striking out seven and walking four — matching his total from his previous four starts combined. He also had an RBI double in the seventh.
"You really have to be on your game when facing a lineup like that," said Stroman, who has a 2.41 ERA. "I just had a good mix. [Catcher James] McCann was awesome back there. We were on the same page as far as how we wanted to attack hitters. We utilized that, used a lot of split-changes today sliders, sinkers. I kind of threw everything. I think I’m the best when I’m mixing it up like that."
Rojas said: "He didn’t have his best command, but he was able to bounce back. I think he set the tone."
The biggest of Stroman’s several jams came in the fourth, when he walked Wil Myers between singles by Eric Hosmer and Ha-Seong Kim, loading the bases with one out. But he escaped with one pitch to Webster Rivas, a 30-year-old rookie catcher.
Third baseman Brandon Drury made a sliding stop to prevent a ground ball from going down the leftfield line, which would have meant multiple runs and multiple bases. He tagged the bag for one out and from one knee made a strong throw to first base for the second out, ending the inning.
"I thanked him about a million times throughout the game," Stroman said.
The only run against Stroman scored because of a two-error play in the sixth. Fernando Tatis Jr. sent a tapper back to the mound, but Stroman bounced the throw to first and it got by Pete Alonso. Alonso chased it but then committed a throwing error himself. Tatis ended up on third. He scored on Hosmer’s groundout to first.
The Mets reached San Diego righthander Chris Paddack for three runs in six innings, managing a lone run in three different frames. Paddack struck out six, walked one and scattered six hits.
Smith homered in the fourth. He has hit two long balls in the past six days, doubling his season total.
"I’m not satisfied because I had a good week," said Smith, who also stole two bases in that stretch, tripling his career total.
Billy McKinney (2-for-5) created another run by singling to lead off the sixth and stealing second. Alonso scored him with a single to center.
Facing reliever Craig Stammen, McCann added a two-run home run in the eighth. That was his fifth dinger in 11 games. In his first 33 games, he had one.
The Mets have won eight of their past 11 games.
"We have a good thing going here," Stroman said. "It’s just a matter of keeping it rolling."