SAN DIEGO: Colin Rea went where few San Diego Padres pitchers have gone before.
But he came up short, just like all the rest.
Darn you, Yoenis Cespedes.
The New York Mets center fielder singled into right field — through the hole left at second base with the Padres shifting on the pitch — for a two-out hit in the seventh inning that broke up Rea’s bid for the first no-hitter in Padres history. They now reached 7,519 games played without one. The Mets went exactly 500 more games than have the Padres — 8,019 — without a no-hitter before Johan Santana accomplished the feat June 1, 2012 to make the Padres the only team in the majors without one.
Rea received a standing ovation from the 21,608 at Petco Park after becoming the latest Padres pitcher to seek the elusive milestone. The 25-year-old right-hander had allowed only David Wright’s first-inning walk before Cespedes’ single. Rea went eight innings, allowing three hits and one run in the Padres’ 5-3 victory Thursday night over the Mets.
Rea allowed a two-out single in the eighth to Kevin Plawecki. He left to another standout ovation after allowing a home run to Curtis Granderson leading off the ninth. Reliever Brad Hand followed Rea to the mound, allowed a two-run homer to Cespedes and was replaced by Fernando Rodney, who closed out the game.
With the Mets in town this weekend for a four-game series, all the talk before Thursday night’s series opener centered on how the Mets were holding all the aces.
“It’s a heck of a rotation,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “It’s as big a challenge as there is in major league baseball right now when you run into these four arms that you’re facing.”
But it wasn’t Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom—leading off the series with Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey to follow—who dominated.
It was Rea, who came into the game with a 2-1 record and a 4.61 ERA. Green expressed plenty of confidence in the pitcher coming into the game.
“Colin just needs to stay true to who he is,” said Green, looking out from the Padres dugout before the game. “He doesn’t need to reinvent himself. He’s got the ability to execute any pitch at any time. When he attacks the zone and gets ahead, he pitches very, very well. If he nibbles on the corners too much he tends to get behind.”
Rea went after the Mets. So did his teammates. The Padres had nine hits before the Mets had one.
DeGrom was gone by then. Long gone. He allowed eight hits and three runs over five innings.
The Padres plated more people against him than deGrom had allowed this year in his three starts combined. The right-hander had a 1.02 ERA entering the game. It was more than twice that after Alexei Ramirez doubled on the left-field line to make it 3-0 with two outs in the third inning.
When Melvin Upton Jr. singled with two outs in the third, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen visit the mound with Elvis’ “All Shook Up” playing over the PA.
Rea, meanwhile, was in the midst of his best outing of the season. He allowed only a first-inning walk to Wright through four innings.
He was aided by Jon Jay’s sliding catch on the warning track in left-center to snare a ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson that ended the third inning.
DeGrom made it through just one batter before he found himself trailing.
Padres first baseman Wil Myers sent an 0-1 slider from deGrom over the wall in center field for a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Myers had never faced deGrom—nor any other Mets pitcher—coming into the game.
When Rea dropped an RBI single into center field with two outs in the second to make it 2-0, the Padres had plated as many runs in two innings off deGrom as the right-hander had allowed in 172/3 innings this season.