NEW YORK (AP) — Rajai Davis did not need a speeding Uber for his latest big hit, one that maintained the New York Mets’ slim wild-card hopes.
After a brilliant pitchers’ duel between the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Davis pinch hit with two outs in the eighth inning and slapped a three-run double off Julio Urías that lifted New York over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 Saturday night.
“It’s always nice when you hear that roar,” Davis said after just his 20th big league at-bat this season.
🗣️🗣️🗣️ FOR THE LEAD! pic.twitter.com/FEU6Vugirp
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 15, 2019
New York remained three games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card with 14 games left and also is two games back of Milwaukee. At 77-71, the Mets matched their win total of last year and kept on doing just enough to hang around the periphery of contention.
“We’re at that point where every game is very important,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Davis, who turns 39 on Oct. 19, spent most of this year at Triple-A Syracuse. Brought up in late May, he was part of a thrilling, eighth-inning rally after a duel between deGrom and Washington’s Max Scherzer, following Juan Lagares’ three-run, two-out double off Sean Doolittle with a three-run pinch homer in a 6-1 win.
Davis had taken batting practice that afternoon with Syracuse in Allentown, Pennsylvania, then got called up and took a ride-hailing service to New York when the Mets learned Brandon Nimmo was hurt. After just six more at-bats over three games, Davis was sent back down. He didn’t return to the Mets until Aug. 20, when he doubled in a run against Cleveland . He had been 0 for 10 since.
“When your name is Freddy — that’s what they call me now — you’re always ready,” Davis said.
DeGrom and Ryu both pitched shutout ball for seven innings in a matchup of NL Cy Young Award contenders, and neither walked a batter in a game in which each team got just three hits.
“I don’t know if they kind of just enjoy the fact that there’s two studs on the mound and they feed off that,” Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said.
Todd Frazier was hit on the left hand on the first pitch after Joe Kelly (5-4) entered with one out in the eighth, the Mets’ first baserunner since the third inning. Kelly struck out Juan Lagares on eight pitches, Urías hit Brandon Nimmo on the right arm and Amed Rosario walked, loading the bases.
Davis pinch hit for Seth Lugo (6-3), fell behind 1-2 and fouled off a fastball before lining a changeup that bounced to the left-field wall.
“Been just a grind,” Davis said. “It’s huge — it means maybe I get more opportunities.”
Lugo struck out the side in the eighth, and Justin Wilson pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, ending a nine-game winning streak for the Dodgers at Citi Field dating to 2016. Los Angeles already has clinched its seventh straight NL West title.
DeGrom allowed three hits and struck out eight , getting 11 groundball outs and retiring 16 straight batters starting in the second inning. He is 0-4 in 10 regular season starts against the Dodgers despite a 2.87 ERA, though he did beat them twice in the 2015 Division Series. DeGrom had a 1.69 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break, lowering his season ERA to 2.61.
DeGrom has not won back-to-back starts since his first two appearances of the season. The Mets are just 8-6 in his scoreless outings since the start of the 2018 season.
Ryu gave up two hits with six strikeouts to lower his major league-best ERA to 2.35. Ryu, who retired his last 13 batters, is 4-1 with a 1.38 ERA in eight starts against the Mets.
He had given up 21 runs over 19 innings in his previous four starts but was making his first appearance since Sept. 4.
“Execution was consistently better than the last few starts,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Changing eye levels, in and out, pitching off the changeup, got a lot of soft contact.”
Mets rookie Pete Alonso went 0-for-3 and is hitless in a career-worst 16 straight at-bats.
An initial X-ray on Todd Frazier’s bruised hand was negative.
Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 4.21 ERA) and Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (13-3, 3.14) start Sunday night’s series finale.
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