NEW YORK – 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, 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.”
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.