NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — If there’s been one game that has summed up the New York Mets’ resiliency this season, this was it.
Lucas Duda’s two-run single capped a three-run ninth against All-Star closer Heath Bell, and the banged-up Mets rallied past the San Diego Padres 9-8 on Monday night.
Angel Pagan, Jason Bay and David Wright homered for the Mets, who started strong and finished with a flourish after putting their top two hitters on the disabled list.
“We’re not conceding anything,” Wright said. “There are a lot of games left. Crazier things have happened.”
Shortstop Jose Reyes is sidelined with a strained left hamstring, the same problem that landed the NL’s leading hitter on the disabled list for 16 days last month. Daniel Murphy, who filled in admirably for injured first baseman Ike Davis, is likely done for the season because of a left knee injury.
“It really is going to take everybody. Tonight was a perfect example,” Bay said.
Pagan moved up to Reyes’ spot at the top of the lineup and hit his third career leadoff homer.
Ruben Tejada, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, started at shortstop and made a tough defensive play in an important situation.
“We’d love to have Jose Reyes, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis right now. But give these young guys an opportunity and let them grab it and take hold of it,” Wright said.
Jason Bartlett’s bases-loaded double capped a four-run eighth that gave the Padres an 8-4 lead. But their normally reliable bullpen couldn’t hold it, and San Diego’s four-game winning streak was snapped.
“Best in baseball,” manager Bud Black said about his relief corps. “It doesn’t happen, so it’s a rarity. But I think it just goes to show you that players aren’t invincible.”
Duda, who had three hits, singled to start a two-run eighth against Chad Qualls. Bay walked and pinch-hitter Mike Baxter, just promoted from Triple-A Buffalo, delivered an RBI double when left fielder Kyle Blanks misplayed the deep drive, letting it glance off his glove.
“One hundred percent I should have had that ball,” Blanks said. “The last 10, 15 feet the ball moved a lot more than I thought it was going to.”
Claimed off waivers from the Padres last month, Baxter grew up in Queens about 10 minutes from the Mets’ home and went to games at Shea Stadium as a kid. But he had never been to Citi Field, which opened in 2009, before arriving in the clubhouse Monday.
After his key hit, Baxter clapped his hands at second base as his family stood and cheered in the stands. It was his second major league hit and RBI.
“The dream was to play in the big leagues. You learn that you don’t have any control of the situation, so when I found out I got picked up by the Mets I was pretty excited,” Baxter said.
Ronny Paulino’s sacrifice fly cut it to 8-6.
Jason Pridie opened the ninth with a single off Bell (2-4), a former Met, and moved up on a wild pitch as Pagan struck out. Justin Turner’s single put runners at the corners and Wright smacked an RBI single up the middle.
Another wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third before Duda grounded a single up the middle, just past diving second baseman Orlando Hudson.
“It’s great to get a win like this. There’s a lot of fight with the guys here,” starter Mike Pelfrey said.
Wright scored the winning run with a headfirst slide into the leg of plate umpire Marty Foster and the jubilant Mets mobbed Duda near second base.
Willie Harris pelted Duda in the face with a cream pie as he was interviewed on the field.
“He’s beginning to believe in himself a little bit,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He needs to get more at-bats so that he can become more comfortable here.”
Jason Isringhausen (3-2) worked a scoreless ninth for the win.
It was Bell’s third blown save in 34 chances.
“His stuff was good. The Mets had good at-bats,” Black said. “The wild pitch came back to haunt us.”
Jesus Guzman had two RBI singles for San Diego and Tim Stauffer hung around for seven innings after serving up three early homers. Coming off a three-game sweep at slumping Pittsburgh, the last-place Padres fought back from a 4-1 deficit against Pelfrey with their latest offensive outburst.
San Diego, which began the day at the bottom of the NL rankings in home runs (63) and batting average (.235), has scored 46 runs in the last five games.
Bay hit his 200th career homer leading off the second and Wright added a two-run shot to make it 4-1 in the third, but the Padres tied it with a three-run sixth. Bartlett started the rally with a single and Blanks capped it with an RBI double.
Wright made two outstanding plays at third base. New York, which had lost six of seven, moved back to .500 (57-57).
“There has been a lot of swings. I’m exhausted,” Collins said.
NOTES: Stauffer had given up only eight homers all season. … San Diego placed 3B Chase Headley (broken left pinkie) and reliever Ernesto Frieri (strained lower back) on the 15-day DL. … Pagan’s previous leadoff homer came on Aug. 23, 2009, against Philadelphia. … Still in his uniform, Wright went into the umpire’s room after the game to check on Foster, who was OK.
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