ARLINGTON, TX. — Zack Wheeler was strong. Jay Bruce was solid. Still, the Mets needed a lot of luck in the ninth to pull out a 4-3 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park.
It’s never easy with the Mets.
Jerry Blevins, who had allowed just four hits to lefty batters going into Wednesday night’s game, gave up a two-out single to Nomar Mazara before Robinson Chirinos crushed a two-run shot to left field, tying the game at 3-3.
But this time, the Mets caught a break.
In the ninth, with two outs and runners on second and first, Jose Reyes, who had not had a hit in six games, slapped a one-hopper to just behind second base. It was seemingly an easy out, but Rougned Odor’s toss to Elvis Andrus was bobbled and dropped, allowing pinch runner Matt Reynolds to score the go-ahead run.
That salvaged what could have been a disaster for the Mets (25-32), who had lost two straight.
Blevins picked up the win, but Wheeler deserved it.
Wednesday night, Wheeler out dueled Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish. He held the Rangers to one run on six hits through seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.
Jay Bruce got two of the only three hits the Mets managed off Darvish Wednesday, but both were homers. Juan Lagares’ single in the eighth chased the Rangers righthander.
Wheeler’s been an unlikely hero.
He was included in that 2015 trade-deadline deal which included Wilmer Flores for Carlos Gomez that fell through and became an afterthought as the Mets rotation led them to the World Series in 2015. Scheduled to start the season in extended spring training because of an innings limit and concern about the setbacks he had suffered last season trying to come back, Wheeler forced the Mets hand this spring, pitching his way into their plans.
Now, has quietly put together the best season to date of the much-touted rotation. With his strong seven innings Wednesday, Wheeler now leads the Mets rotation with a 3.45 ERA.
It isn’t always easy with Wheeler, who is prone to high pitch counts.
He got in trouble early, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning. An overturned call on a double play gave the Rangers the only run they would get out of that. After giving up the run, Wheeler got the ground-ball he needed out of Robinson Chirinos to end the inning. He flirted with trouble again in the third and fourth, but worked his way out of it.
In his final inning, Wheeler had runners on first and second and had to labor to get Delino DeShields out on a flyout to right.
All night, Wheeler worked with nine runners in scoring position and allowed just one to score.
Darvish didn’t have a single runner in scoring position all night, but Bruce made him pay for the few mistakes he made.
It was the fourth multi-home run game for Bruce this season and the 25th of his career. Bruce, who was shopped around this winter, is hitting .251 with 15 RBI and 40 RBI.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Jose Reyes’ one-hopper to deep second base scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth on what should have been an easy out. Rougned Odor fielded the ball well, but his throw to Elvis Andrus was bobbled and dropped, allowing pinch runner Matt Reynolds to score.
Jerry Blevins, who had allowed just four hits to a left-handed batter going into Wednesday night, gave up a two-out single to lefty-hitter Nomar Mazara in the eighth. Robinson Chirinos tied the game with the second home run Blevins has given up this year.
STAR OF THE GAME
Zack Wheeler held the Rangers to one run on six hits. He walked three and struck out five in seven innings of work. With his best start of the season, Wheeler lowered his ERA to 3.45.
27-in-16. The Mets have hit 27 homers in their last 16 games.
Texas native Jay Bruce hit his 14th and 15th homer of the season as the Mets’ designated hitter Wednesday night. It was his fourth multi-home run game of the season and the 25th of his career.
Jerry Blevins had allowed just four hits to a left-handed batter going into Wednesday night, the two-out single to Nomar Mazara was the fifth in 48 at-bats against southpaws. He cost Wheeler his fourth win of the season.
Friday at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m.
RHP Matt Harvey (4-5, 5.43) vs. TBA