SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' 48-year, 7,519-game flirtation with their first no-hitter will continue indefinitely. But Colin Rea did his best in an effort to land the franchise its white whale Thursday night, tossing eight brilliant innings, as the Padres beat the Mets, 5-3.
New York didn't get into the hits column until two outs into the top of the seventh inning, when Yoenis Cespedes hit a grounder to the right side. The Padres -- playing with three infielders to the left of second base against the pull-happy Cespedes -- could only watch as it trickled through to right field for the game's first hit.
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"I love baseball, I love history, I love moments that haven't happened before -- I loved watching Colin chase it for as long as he got the opportunity to chase it tonight," said Padres manager Andy Green. "It would've been great to go a little bit longer. Somebody should've just told me not to shift on Cespedes."
Rea shook that off and allowed only two more hits, while striking out five in a career-high eight-plus innings. After Curtis Granderson led off the ninth with a homer, Rea was removed to a standing ovation at Petco Park. Cespedes tacked on a two-run dinger in the frame, but closer Fernando Rodney shut the door to preserve the San Diego victory. Still, the Padres remain the only Major League team without a no-hitter -- a title they've held since Johan Santana broke through for the Mets in June 2012.
"It was definitely in my head," Rea said. "I knew. You know the situation that's going on. It was fun out there."
The offense gave Rea more than enough cushion, scoring in each of the first three frames against Mets starter Jacob deGrom, who was removed for a pinch-hitter after five innings. Derek Norris led the Padres' offensively, finishing a triple shy of the cycle, and Wil Myers also went deep.
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What a play, Jay: It's been a highlight-reel season for Padres outfielders, but Jon Jay's robbery of Granderson in the third inning Thursday night may have been the catch of the year so far. Granderson sent a deep fly to center, but Jay ranged a mile to track it down with a sliding grab on the warning track, keeping the no-no intact.
Shifting the narrative: When Cespedes stepped to the plate for his third at-bat in the seventh inning, he once again found a gaping hole on the right side of the infield. So he took aim for it, punching a 91-mph Rea fastball past no one in particular. It bounced into right field, good enough for the Mets' first hit of the night.
"We were aware of what was going on," Cespedes said. "The job was just try to go to home plate as a team, and get the job done to get a hit."
Said Rea: "The shift came into play multiple times before that. It saved more hits tonight than we gave up." More >
Myers puts the Padres on the board: Myers' first-inning homer gave Rea an early cushion. He launched a deGrom offering over the center-field wall, the first homer allowed by the Mets righty since September.
"He just left some pitches middle, he still had his good stuff," Myers said. "He left some balls over the plate and we were able to put some good swings on them."
Cracking his armor: Coming into the game having allowed just one extra-base hit in his first three starts, deGrom served up four of them -- including Myers' homer and an Alexei Ramirez double -- in his first three innings. He settled down somewhat after that, but left for a pinch-hitter after five innings of three-run ball. Self-diagnosing his outing afterward, deGrom said his mechanics were out of whack all evening.
"But no excuses," deGrom said. "I wasn't very good tonight."
"I don't know how you can get much better, considering what he did. Flirting with a no-hitter through seven innings, that speaks volumes, especially to a team that's been as hot offensively as the [Mets] have been. That really does say a lot." -- Norris on catching Rea
"We hit some balls good again tonight. It's one of those things where if they fall in, a lot of times it's a different [game]. But we didn't make the pitches we normally make tonight." -- Mets manager Terry Collins
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The Mets came into the night ranked 25th in the Majors in batting average with runners in scoring position, and will have to live with that number another day. They did not have a plate appearance with a runner on second or third base all night. More >
Mets:Noah Syndergaard will look to crack down on the running game -- and perhaps stave off his overall recent struggles in the process -- when he takes on the Padres in the second game of this four-game series Friday night at 10:40 p.m. ET at Petco Park. Syndergaard is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA over his last two starts, after going 2-0 with an 0.90 mark in his first three.
Padres: After facing Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw in his past two times out, Drew Pomeranz gets the Mets' Noah Syndergaard on Friday night at 7:40 p.m. PT. Pomeranz has been the Padres best starter this season with a 2.48 ERA and a .194 batting-average against.
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