SAN DIEGO — It took a little more than one inning. One inning for the good vibes of Eduardo Escobar’s Monday night cycle to evaporate, and not even five Mets batters before the alarms started blazing for real. Sure, this team has survived massive injuries to some of its best players, but could it really withstand the loss of Pete Alonso and Starling Marte, too?
Well, they might have to find out.
Alonso was hit by a pitch on his right hand to lead off the second inning in the Mets’ 7-0 loss to the Padres on Tuesday at Petco Park, and though he was forced to leave the game, initial X-rays were negative, the team said. He’ll undergo more testing, and Buck Showalter said after the game that the idea he might miss only a few games was optimistic. He would not commit to an injured list stint.
“I didn’t like the way he wasn’t able to grip there at all,” he said. “He took a pretty good pop there.”
Meanwhile, Marte was diagnosed with left quad tightness, which he apparently suffered when he was caught stealing in the first inning. Marte was slow to get up and was checked out by head trainer Joseph Golia before playing a half inning in the field. That, though, was enough for the Mets to see he couldn’t go further. He, too, will have further imaging.
Showalter said the team was equipped to deal with whatever came; they currently have three players on the taxi squad: a pitcher, a catcher, and infielder Gosuke Katoh, who spent some time in the outfield in the minors.
“I don’t think we’re in a bind,” Showalter said. “It may appear that way but I look at it as time for somebody else to shine, like we have all year. Our front office has been ahead of the game, keeping us equipped to compete and we’ll continue to do that. Obviously, losing those two guys that quick took a little air out of everything.”
The Mets snapped a three-game win streak, had only two hits and allowed Darvish to carry a no-hitter into the sixth. The Padres scored one in the first, three in the second and three in the seventh. It’s only the second time the Mets have been shut out this season, and the first time they’ve had fewer than three hits this year.
In the second, Alonso took Darvish’s 95.7-mph sinker to his right hand as he was beginning the action on his swing. The Mets first baseman quickly went to the ground on impact and grabbed his hand. J.D. Davis pinch ran for him and took over at first base; prior to a start there Monday, Davis hadn’t played first base since 2018.
Alonso entered Tuesday slashing .282/.360/.546 with 16 home runs and a major-league-leading 54 RBIs, and now he's been hit seven times. Darvish hit three of the first five batters he faced, including Jeff McNeil in the at-bat after Alonso’s. None of them appeared to be intentional, though, with Brandon Nimmo and McNeil being hit by a 73-mph curveball and an 87-mph cutter.
The Mets have been hit a major-league-leading 40 times.
And though X-rays didn’t reveal a fracture, Alonso has broken his hand twice before — the left one. He did it once in college, when he rushed back and essentially played through it for three weeks, and once again a year later, in the minors in 2017. He sat six weeks that time. The Mets, who’ve already lost their two aces, starting catcher and a pivotal utilityman to extended injuries, could little afford to be without the player who’s undoubtedly been their MVP this season.
Making things worse, Marte, who was slow to come in from rightfield after playing the bottom of the first, was subbed out for Mark Canha shortly after.
Meanwhile, the Padres feasted on an uneven Taijuan Walker.
Jurickson Profar unloaded on a mistake pitch to lead off the first, smoking a 95.9-mph fastball down the heart of the plate, 406 feet to right to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. They scored three more in the bottom of the second, first on Trent Grisham’s RBI single and two on Jake Cronenworth’s two-out, bases-loaded single. Walker settled down after that, retiring 13 of the last 15 he faced, with no hits. He allowed four runs and five hits over six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Mets didn’t record a hit off Darvish until Canha’s sixth-inning, two-out single. The Padres righthander allowed just two hits in seven innings, with no walks, six strikeouts and the three hit batsmen. The Padres tacked on three more in the seventh off Colin Holderman.