Díaz converts 1st save chance since returning from injured list as Mets hold off Padres 2-1


NEW YORK — J.D. Martinez hit a two-run double, Edwin Díaz converted his first save chance since coming off the injured list and the New York Mets held off the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Friday night.

“He’s that anchor back in the ‘pen,” Martinez said. “If he comes back and he does what he’s doing the last couple days, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a fun little run.”

Making his second appearance in two nights since returning from a right shoulder impingement, Díaz pitched out of trouble in the ninth inning.

He gave up a leadoff single and a stolen base, then struck out slugger Manny Machado looking at a 100 mph fastball. Donovan Solano hit a grounder toward the hole on the right side, but second baseman Jeff McNeil made a nice sliding play on the outfield grass for the second out.

“I thought it was a base hit,” Díaz said. “That was a big out for us, and after that I said to myself, `We’ve got the game. Let’s win the game.’”

With a runner at third, Díaz fell behind 3-1 on Jake Cronenworth but struck him out swinging at a 91 mph slider.

“That was huge. Sugar’s been going though it,” Mets starter Sean Manaea said. “Everybody believes in him, and to be able to go out there and shut it down against those guys was huge. So, that was really awesome to see.”

The star closer screamed and pounded his chest after securing his sixth save this season. Before going on the injured list May 29, he blew three straight save opportunities and four out of five — leaving him with an unsightly 5.40 ERA.

“Before the IL, I didn’t feel 100%. Now I’m feeling way better,” Díaz said. “My velocity is coming way easier. … I feel great. I feel happy. My teammates got my back, before and now.”

Díaz was reinstated Thursday and worked a perfect ninth to get the win in a 3-2 victory over Miami.

“He’s back, and we’re going to need him,” manager Carlos Mendoza said.

Manaea (4-3) rebounded from consecutive rough outings and four Mets relievers combined for four shutout innings. New York (31-37) mustered only four hits but still won for the seventh time in nine games.

Jackson Merrill homered for San Diego, which had won three in a row and five of six.

The opener of a three-game series between teams trying to overcome slow starts was delayed by rain for 65 minutes at the start.

Padres rookie knuckleballer Matt Waldron (4-6) issued a one-out walk to a slumping McNeil in the third, and Brandon Nimmo singled with two outs. Martinez then lined a two-run double into the right-field corner to put New York ahead 2-0.

“No one’s thinking anything about the Mets. Everyone’s kind of just, has us written off,” Martinez said. “So it’s just, no pressure. Let’s just go out and have fun, and if we win we win, and if we lose we lose.”

Martinez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday night to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over Miami. It was the 321st home run of his 14-year career but his first walk-off shot.

Manaea kept San Diego off the scoreboard until Merrill homered off the top of the right-center fence with two outs in the fifth for his third in two games. The 21-year-old rookie had his first multi-homer game Wednesday, including a walk-off drive to complete a three-game sweep of Oakland.

Manaea permitted four hits and struck out seven in five-plus innings.

Waldron allowed just three hits in seven solid innings, equaling a career high. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive outings.

“He was great. Waldy gave us more than a chance,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “Did a tremendous job. The ball that Martinez got down the line was the only damage, but Matty was really good again.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres LF Jurickson Profar was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s win over Oakland with patellar tendinitis in his left knee. He had two hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth. Profar began the day third in the majors in batting average (.324) and on-base percentage (.424).

UP NEXT

Padres RHP Adam Mazur (0-1, 9.00 ERA) makes his third major league start Saturday against LHP Jose Quintana (1-5, 5.29) in the middle game of the series. Quintana is 0-4 in 10 outings since a 16-4 win at Atlanta on April 11.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb



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