NEW YORK -- Sure, the Padres were bitten by a controversial replay ruling in Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. An early run-scoring rally was halted on a challenge that they initiated, after all.The Padres only threatened once against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, and it ended with
NEW YORK -- Sure, the Padres were bitten by a controversial replay ruling in Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. An early run-scoring rally was halted on a challenge that they initiated, after all.
The Padres only threatened once against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, and it ended with serious dissension on the San Diego side. William Myers' RBI single became a two-run single after a challenge by manager Andy Green in the third. But Carlos Asuaje was tagged out at third base on the very same play, on a throw from catcher Devin Mesoraco.
Asuaje's involvement was initially rendered moot by the out call at home plate, which appeared to have ended the inning. But it became relevant again when Manuel Margot was ruled safe at home instead. Asuaje was out, taking the bat out of Eric Hosmer's hands with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
"Down one run, runners first and second and one of our best hitters coming to the plate -- we have the opportunity to tie or take the lead," Green said. "That does change trajectories of baseball games. But I'm not going to sit here and put that game on top of that call."
The replay official determined that Asuaje's baserunning "was unaffected by the incorrect call" at the plate. The Padres vehemently disagreed. But they didn't do much to make up for it later in the game. Their offense went without a hit for the next five innings.
Starter Eric Lauer didn't get much help offensively. Myers drove in all three of the Padres' runs, tacking on an RBI double in the ninth. He and Margot combined for four of the team's six hits.
Lauer struggled for his second consecutive start. He surrendered a bases-clearing double by Mesoraco in the first. Then Michael Conforto quickly followed the controversial third-inning ruling with a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame.
Robert Stock pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the Padres, striking out five. But by then, the Mets' lead was safe enough.
"I definitely could've made an adjustment a little sooner and not let it snowball," Lauer said.
Lauer's last two starts offer something of a worrisome trend for the young left-hander. He started the season poorly, but appeared to have turned a corner in June. Now, he's posted consecutive outings in which he's been removed before the fifth inning.
But in reality, San Diego appeared to hit a wall following the third-inning controversy.
At the time, Green attempted to protest the ruling, but it was quickly denied on the basis that, per Major League Baseball, "No protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the replay official."
If, indeed, the call had an adverse effect on the rest of the Padres' night, Green wasn't about to use that as an excuse.
"We've got to be mentally tough enough that it doesn't," he said.
Stock put forth the best effort of his young career in relief of Lauer on Tuesday night. He pitched three scoreless frames, allowing only one hit while striking out five.
Stock routinely blew hitters away with a fastball that averaged 97.6 mph. He also showcased a nasty slider that kept Mets hitters honest. Stock threw 37 pitches on the night and recorded nine swings and misses.
"The ball was hopping out of his hand, and there was enough life from his offspeed stuff he threw that nobody could just sit on that fastball today," Green said. "Shoot, he was outstanding today. That was fun to watch."
HE SAID IT
"I don't know how you think he's making a full-bore effort to advance to third base. I think it's a lethargic jog toward the third-base coach, which is pretty customary when the third out of an inning is made. You go hand the guy your helmet. That's effectively what was happening." -- Green, on Asuaje
"We told everybody in Spring Training, in these instances now with replay, you have to play every ball out. … That was a heads-up play by [Mesoraco] to continue the play and get us a big out right there." -- Mets manager Mickey Callaway
Clayton Richard is coming off arguably his worst start of the season, in which he allowed seven runs over three innings in Philadelphia. Still, he's on pace to become the first Padres pitcher in three years to reach the 200-inning threshold. Richard gets the ball Wednesday in the series finale at 9:10 a.m. PT at Citi Field. Right-hander Corey Oswalt starts for the Mets.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.