Flushing, NY – Eric Stults combined with five San Diego relievers on a five-hitter as the Padres finally cooled off the New York Mets' hot bats with a 2-1 victory at Citi Field.
The Mets pasted San Diego pitching for 19 runs in winning the first two tests of this season-opening series, but managed just three hits off Stults (1-0) during a five-inning stint in which the left-hander racked up seven of the Padres' 14 strikeouts.
"They were swinging the bat well the first two games," said Stults of the Mets. "They put up a lot of runs and weren't missing many pitches. The goal today was to keep us in the game and hopefully we could come out on top, and it worked out that way."
Luke Gregerson fanned three more over 1 1/3 hitless innings later on before giving way to Huston Street, who served up a home run to John Buck to open the bottom of the ninth before recording the final three outs to earn the save.
Jedd Gyorko put the Padres ahead with an RBI double in the fourth inning, with Yonder Alonso finishing 2-for-4 in the win.
Buck went 2-for-4 and Justin Turner accounted for the Mets' three other hits, while Dillon Gee (0-1) yielded just one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings in a hard-luck loss.
"He pitched very well, kept us in the ball game," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Gee. "I hope he puts the health issues behind him, because his stuff's good enough and he showed today than when he makes pitches he's gonna get easy outs."
Making his first start in the majors since undergoing shoulder surgery last July, Gee set down 10 straight San Diego hitters after issuing a walk to Everth Cabrera to open the game, until Mark Kotsay reached via a bloop single with one out in the top of the fourth. Alonso followed with a base hit before Gyorko pulled a changeup inside the third base bag to bring home Kotsay with the game's first run.
The Mets had put two on with one out an inning earlier, but Stults prevented any damage by inducing Ike Davis into a double-play grounder, then retired the side in order in both the fourth and fifth.
"[Catcher John] Baker called a good game behind the plate and we were able to keep them off balance today," Stults remarked.
New York also threatened in the sixth, with Turner greeting reliever Brad Brach with a single and Davis drawing a walk two batters later. Brach settled down to strike out Marlon Byrd, however, before Joe Thatcher came on to fan Lucas Duda looking and keep it a 1-0 game.
San Diego stranded the bases full in the seventh, but was able to get some insurance in the eighth. After a walk to pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia and an Alonso single placed runners at the corners, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia uncorked a wild pitch to allow Denorfia to cross the plate.
That extra run proved critical after Buck clubbed Street's first pitch well over the wall in left for his second homer in as many games. The San Diego closer shook off the blast, however, by retiring the next two hitters before ending the contest with a swinging strikeout of Mike Baxter.
Stults' seven strikeouts were his most in 19 lifetime appearances (15 starts) as a Padre and two short of a career high, set against Colorado while with the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 17, 2007 ... The Padres had lost five straight at Citi Field since an 11-5 victory on May 24 of last season, during which Stults gave up just one unearned run in five frames to notch the win ... Gee has allowed just three runs in 20 innings over three career meetings with San Diego ... Buck went 6-for-12 with two homers and five RBI during the series.