Decision points: The key moments from Friday’s MLB Wild Card games

Oct 7, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona (77) relives starting pitcher Shane Bieber (57) in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during game one of the Wild Card series for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona (77) relives starting pitcher Shane Bieber (57) in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during game one of the Wild Card series for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pete Alonso walks back to the dugout after striking out in the first inning. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Pete Alonso walks back to the dugout after striking out in the first inning. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

For Pete’s sake

Friday’s night’s game between the Padres and Mets was a relative runaway. But it didn’t necessarily have to be.

In fact, the Mets missed a couple of key opportunities to make a game of it against Yu Darvish.

The home team already trailed 2-0 when they came to bat in the bottom of the first, with San Diego’s Josh Bell having tapped Max Scherzer for a two-run home run. But the Mets made a quick thrust at evening matters.

With one out, Darvish hit Francisco Lindor with a pitch. Then, after Lindor stole second, NL batting champion Jeff McNeil shot a line drive to right, Lindor halting at third.

It was a golden decision point for the Mets, who sent their best power threat, Pete Alonso, to the plate next. But Alonso could do nothing more than foul off a sinker, falling behind 0-2. Then Darvish caught him staring at a cutter right over the middle for a called third strike. The next batter, Daniel Vogelbach, flied harmlessly to right, evaporating the Mets’ best shot.

After Trent Grisham homered to make the score 3-0, the Mets got another opportunity in the bottom of the second. Starling Marte grounded a base hit back up the middle, then he stole second, and eventually third.

But for a second straight inning, the Mets could not cash their scoring chance. After Mark Canha flied out, Darvish fanned Eduardo Escobar, Tomas Nido delivered a fly ball but, as the third out, it came one out too late to score Marte.

Next. Panic palpable in St. Louis as Game 2 nears. dark

The game’s outcome lingered until the top of the fifth, when the Padres rocked Scherzer for two more home runs to take a 7-0 lead. That was more than enough for Darvish.