Mets 4, Padres 1

In just his 11th big league start, Zack Wheeler joined some

pretty good company in the New York Mets’ record book.

How about Nolan Ryan and Pedro Martinez good?

Wheeler struck out a career-high 12 in six innings, and Marlon

Byrd had a two-run double to lead the Mets to a 4-1 victory over

the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

With his performance, Wheeler matched those two aces as the only

Mets to strike out at least 12 in six innings or less.

”Early in the game Zack was working both sides of the plate

real well,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”He had great

movement on his fastball today and got some balls in the corner. He

made some good big pitches. They had to hunt the fastball and he

got some good swings on off-speed stuff that was the difference

especially his slider.”

Byrd lined a two-out double over a hesitant right-fielder Chris

Denorfia’s head in the eighth inning, Mets outfielders saved two

runs with outstanding plays and New York snapped a three-game

skid.

Mets left-fielder Eric Young Jr. saved a homer by leaping above

the wall and knocking the ball back onto the field in the third

inning. Center fielder Juan Lagares then threw out a runner at home

plate in the fifth.

Byrd doubled off reliever Luke Gregerson (5-7), who had

intentionally walked the left-handed hitting Daniel Murphy to pitch

to the righty Byrd. Gregerson hit pinch-hitter Mike Baxter with a

pitch. Baxter stole second before Murphy was walked.

Denorfia made his first step in on Byrd’s hard-hit ball. He then

hesitated and never recovered as the ball sailed over his head.

Scott Atchison (3-1) got the victory by pitching a scoreless

seventh inning.

John Buck added his 15th home run, a solo shot off Padres

reliever Tim Stauffer in the ninth. It was his first homer in 96

at-bats.

Rookie Gonzalez Germen pitched two scoreless innings for his

first career save. He struck out three of the Mets’ 15 Ks

Thursday.

Both starting pitchers, Wheeler and the Padres’ Tyson Ross, were

outstanding.

Wheeler allowed one run on seven hits. He walked one and threw a

career-high 115 pitches, 73 for strikes.

”I was keeping my pitch count low early in the game, but after

the third or fourth inning I got a little carried away and tried to

strike some people out,” Wheeler said.

Ross also allowed a run. He worked seven innings and yielded

five hits. He struck out eight without walking a batter and threw

109 pitches, 74 for strikes.

”He held his stuff for seven innings, all the things you look

for,” Black said.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Murphy

singled to left leading off. He went to second on a hit-and-run

groundout by Ike Davis. With two outs Josh Satin hit a slow roller

that shortstop Ronny Cedeno barehanded and threw to first. The

throw appeared to be in time, but first base umpire Brian Knight

ruled that first baseman Yonder Alonso had pulled his foot off the

bag.

Murphy never stopped running as Alonso thought that he had made

the last out and headed for the dugout while Murphy came all the

way around to score.

The Padres tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. They

loaded the bases on singles by Chase Headley and Denorfia

sandwiched around a walk to Alonso. With one out Jaff Decker hit a

sacrifice fly to left scoring Headley.

In the third, Rene Rivera hit a ball that was out of park in

left field but Young leaped at the wall and the ball his glove and

the top of the wall before laning on the outifeld turf. Rivera

raced in for a triple.

Wheeler then struck out Ross and Will Venable to strand Rivera

at third.

”Whenever I needed to I made the pitches that I had to,” said

Wheeler. ”I was able to throw off-speed pitches over for strikes

and it worked out well for me.

Padres manager Bud Black was impressed with Wheelers.

”A good young arm, good delivery,” Black said. ”The ball came

out with great velocity. The kid’s got a good arm. I was very

impressed with his stuff, his delivery, the way he went through

that game.”

In the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and second and

two outs, Alonso hit a line drive to center field. Lagares fielded

the ball and threw one hopper that catcher John Buck grabbed and

just tagged a sliding Ross for the final out of the inning.

Lagares also made a diving catch on Jedd Gyorko’s liner in the

eighth with a runner on.

NOTES: Venable extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12

with a single in the fifth. … Mets fill-in closer LaTroy Hawkins

was not available Thursday after getting his in the groin on a

comebacker in Los Angeles on Wednesday. … Padres OF Carlos

Quentin, out since July 31, got a second opinion on his right knee

Thursday at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Results of the tests were unavailable. … Padres C Nick Hundley,

who went on paternity leave on Thursday, became a father for the

first time when his wife Amy gave birth to a girl earlier in the

day. … The Padres called up Chris Robinson from Triple-A Tucson

to take Hundley’s place on the roster. … Padres RHP Jason Marquis

was moved from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list on. Marquis

underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on

July 30. … The Mets and Padres continue their four-game series

Friday with New York’s RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-3, 2.22 ERA) scheduled

to pitch against the Padres RHP Edison Volquez (8-10, 5.80).