The Padres, behind the arm of Joe Musgrove, eliminated the New York Mets – 101-game winners in the regular season – Sunday to win their wild-card series and move on to the National League Division Series.
With the 6-0 win, the Padres will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a series that begins Tuesday.
“As a team, as an organization, as a city, I don’t think we wanted anybody else but Joe on the mound tonight,” Manny Machado told ESPN of Musgrove’s dominant performance – seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball – before the raucous clubhouse celebration began.
The Padres struck first after loading the bases in the second inning. Josh Bell singled, then with two outs Mets starter Chris Bassitt walked Ha-Seong Kim and Trent Grisham. Austin Nola followed with a two-run single to left, past the outstretched arms of shortstop Francisco Lindor for a 2-0 lead.
They added a run in the fourth, thanks to Kim, who walked with two out, then stole second. Grisham made Kim’s move payoff, singling up the middle over a leaping Lindor. The next inning, Machado joined the fun, driving in Jurickson Profar with a single for a four-run lead.
Musgrove, meanwhile, had a no-hitter going through four innings, until Pete Alonso broke through in the Mets’ half of the fifth with a single.
His control was so complete that by the sixth Met manager Buck Showalter complained to the umpires that he might be using a substance on the baseball. They initiated a check of the right-hander, examining his glove, his cap and even feeling around his ears before allowing the game to resume.
The Padres, including Musgrove and Machado, eyeballed the Met dugout on their way off the field. “It motivated me a little bit man. It fired me up,” Musgrove told ESPN of the moment.
Though Musgrove, Machado and Nola later said they interpreted Showalter’s move as a gambit more than an actual accusation, Bob Melvin later made a point of defending his pitcher’s character. “I’m here to tell everybody that Joe Musgrove is as above board an any pitcher I know, any player I know,” the manager said.
The Friars started the seventh on fire, with a single by Juan Soto and a double by Machado. But Seth Lugo settled down to strike out Bell and Jake Cronenworth, and Mychal Givens came in to pitch to Wil Myers, who also struck out, ending the threat.
The Padres, though, put the game out of reach in the eighth, thanks to a two-out single by Soto off Met closer Edwin Diaz. Kim and Grisham, on yet again following a walk and a single, crossed the plate to pad the lead to 6-0.
Grisham, who gutted through a tough regular season, had a great three games in New York, reaching base eight times in 12 plate appearances. Machado told ESPN the centerfielder was the Padres’ MVP for the series.
Grisham said Melvin stuck by him, belief that helped him believe in himself.
“When it all comes together, it’s something special,” he told 97.3 the Fan.
In the end, the Padres limited the Mets to one hit, led by El Cajon native Musgrove, who went seven innings, striking out five. Roberto Suarez and Josh Hader pitched scoreless innings of their own to close it out.
Nola, a veteran at catching Musgrove, said there’s a certain look in the pitcher’s eyes when he’s got his best stuff. Nola saw it Sunday.
“When he walked out to the mound, it’s like, he’s got it,” Nola said.
The first two games of the Division Series will be in L.A., airing on FS1. The start times will be about 6:35 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
The starters are listed as TBD, but the Padres have Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea available Tuesday with Yu Darvish likely to pitch Wednesday after his standard four days of rest.
Updated 8:25 p.m. Oct. 9, 2022