SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' outfielders set an early tone Wednesday night at Petco Park, providing first-inning defense and offense to jump-start San Diego's 6-3 victory over the Mets, as Jhoulys Chacin improved to 4-0 in July.
The game began with what appeared to be a casual fly ball in foul territory beyond the left-field line. Padres left fielder Jabari Blash raced to the ball, sliding prematurely before making the catch on his back. The play prompted applause from Chacin, who benefited again from his outfield defense when right fielder Hunter Renfroe ended the first with a diving catch. Manuel Margot, the center fielder, hit a two-run home run off Mets left-hander Steven Matz in the bottom of the inning.
"I was joking with them a bit," Margot said through a team interpreter. "I was telling them, 'You guys have to make one, too, and I've got to make one.' Everyone was making plays."
"It stinks to put your team in a position like that," Matz said. "I'm going to have to start again in six days, so I've got to try to figure out how to put my team in a position to win."
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Chacin was pushed back from his scheduled Tuesday start after experiencing back tightness Monday, but continued his run of success, holding the Mets to two runs in 5 1/3 innings after giving up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning against them in May. His line would have been worse if not for New York leaving the bases loaded in the sixth, thanks to a stunning diving play by Rule 5 draftee Allen Cordoba.
"The play from Allen Cordoba was as big of a play as we've had all year with the bases loaded in that situation," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It was a game-saving-type play."
Chacin posted a 2.77 ERA in 10 starts in June and July, establishing himself as a trade candidate.
"You really can't think about that," Chacin said of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. "You have to go out, do your thing, and whatever happens, happens. I just want to give the team a chance to win every time I go out."
Wilmer Flores homered off Kirby Yates in the eighth, creating a save situation for All-Star Brad Hand, who closed the door as he continued to prove himself as one of the top relievers on the trade market.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rule 5er with the bat: When Torrens, one of San Diego's three Rule 5 draftees, stepped to the plate with two outs in the third and the Padres ahead 3-1, he had never tripled or homered in a Major League game. He came inches shy of the latter, settling for the former. He crushed Matz's 1-1 offering a Statcast-projected 398 feet to right-center, the farthest he's hit a ball in his career, and hustled around the bases for his first three-bagger after it ricocheted off the wall. All three baserunners scored as the Padres built a five-run lead.
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Rule 5er with the glove: The Mets threatened to erase San Diego's advantage in the sixth, loading the bases against Chacin before Buddy Baumann walked in a run. Representing the tying run, Rene Rivera pounded a Craig Stammen two-seamer up the middle, seemingly destined for the outfield grass. Enter Cordoba, who nabbed the ball with a full-extension dive before getting up and firing to first. Cordoba considered it the best play of his career at any level.
"I hit it hard," Rivera said. "But that's the game. People are going to make plays. He made a great play. He robbed a hit and a couple RBIs. But you've got to deal with it. That's why he's here in the big leagues, because he can play."
Said Cordoba: "I was anticipating something to that side. I knew he was a pull hitter. And then when I saw it come off the bat, I just went to try to make the play and not let any runs score."
"Certainly defense was a huge part of what made them successful tonight. They've got some talented young players over there." -- Mets manager Terry Collins on the Padres
"Wow. That was impressive. I was really excited because when I first saw the ball, it was almost all the way in the outfield. He came out of nowhere to be able to make that play." -- Margot on Cordoba's diving play
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Margot and Torrens' third-inning triples marked the second time the Friars have tripled twice in the same inning. The two most recent times had both been in San Francisco's AT&T Park. It's the first time they've done it at Petco Park since June 19, 2014, against Seattle, and the third time they've done it at home overall.
Mets: When he takes the mound Thursday at Petco Park with a small army of friends and family in attendance, rookie Chris Flexen will become the Mets' first starting pitcher to jump from Double-A straight to the Majors since Mike Pelfrey in 2006. Flexen, the Mets' No. 17 prospect, went 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts for Binghamton. He is taking injured pitcher Zack Wheeler's spot in the rotation. First pitch is at 9:10 p.m. ET.
Padres:Luis Perdomo pitches against the Mets for the first time, as the Padres conclude their four-game series against New York at 6:10 p.m. PT on Thursday. The second-year right-hander held the Giants to one earned run in six innings in his last start, but three unearned runs left him with a no-decision.
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