- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- The Mets are not in Dodger Stadium anymore. Thankfully.
Marlon Byrd cleared right fielder Chris Denorfia’s head with an eighth-inning shot for a tiebreaking two-run double against Luke Gregerson and the Mets beat the San Diego Padres, 4-1, in Thursday’s series opener at Petco Park.
Zack Wheeler set career highs with 12 strikeouts and 115 pitches and departed after six innings with the score tied at 1 in a no-decision.
The pitch count was his highest total ever in a pro game. The strikeout total matched the most ever. Wheeler also recorded 12 Ks as a San Francisco Giants farmhand on May 29, 2011, with Class A San Jose against Stockton.
The last time a Met recorded that many strikeouts in one of his first 11 career games? Dwight Gooden, who had 14 Ks in his ninth career game, back in 1984.
Wheeler got help from teammates.
Eric Young Jr. reached over the wall to swat a would-be homer from former Mets farmhand Rene Rivera back into the park. Rivera ended up with a one-out triple, but was stranded at third base in the third inning when Wheeler consecutively struck out opposing pitcher Tyson Ross and Will Venable.
In the fifth, center fielder Juan Lagares recorded his 10th outfield assist. Lagares threw out Ross trying to score from second base on a single to end the inning and preserve a 1-all tie.
The lone run surrendered by Wheeler came on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Jaff Decker in the fourth.
Wheeler’s line: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K.
Young and Lagares, incidentally, both are struggling at the plate. Lagares is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Young is 3-for-26 on the road trip.
Lucky break: Good thing there is no instant replay yet for base calls. An apparent botched call by first-base ump Brian Knight allowed the Mets to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
With two outs and Daniel Murphy at second, Josh Satin hit a routine grounder to shortstop. Knight ruled Yonder Alonso pulled his foot off the bag, giving Satin an infield single. Murphy scored all the way from second base. Replays suggested Alonso had successfully kept his foot on the base while receiving the throw.
John Buck had delivered a solo homer in the top of the ninth to give Germen a three-run cushion.
The last Met to have a two-inning save in a tight ballgame (not logging three-plus innings to finish a rout)? Aaron Heilman in 2008. Germen had four saves this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.