Thanks to their big three of Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo and Pete Alonso, the New York Mets managed on Monday to maintain their fleeting playoff hopes for at least one more night while putting a dent into the aspirations of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But the good news for the Diamondbacks is they only have to worry about one of the Mets' trio on Tuesday night.
The Mets and Diamondbacks will both be looking to gain ground in the National League wild-card race Tuesday, when they meet in New York in the second game of a pivotal four-game series.
Zac Gallen (3-4, 2.50 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Diamondbacks against the Mets' Zack Wheeler (10-7, 4.33) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets snapped a two-game losing streak Monday, when Alonso hit two solo home runs, giving him 47 homers for the season to break a tie with Mike Trout for most in the majors.
Meanwhile, deGrom allowed just three hits in seven innings, before Lugo retired all six batters he faced to close out a 3-1 victory.
The Mets (73-70) remained four games behind the Chicago Cubs in the race for the second NL wild card, while making the path to the postseason more difficult for the Diamondbacks (75-69), who are 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs, who defeated the Padres on Monday night.
"I just want to make the playoffs," Alonso said. "I still think making the playoffs would be the most rewarding experience ever."
The Mets were tied for the second-worst record in the NL at the All-Star break before surging into wild-card contention by winning 15 of 16 games from July 25 through Aug. 10.
"I think that from where we've come so far this year, to be able to make it and have a chance to play for a ring, I think that would surpass any personal records," Alonso said.
It was the second straight defeat for the Diamondbacks, who also dropped behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild-card standings. The Brewers defeated the Miami Marlins on Monday.
"It was just a little too much deGrom, and sometimes that happens," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
The loss was just the third in the last 14 games for the Diamondbacks, who were under .500 as recently as Aug. 25. But chances are Arizona won't have to deal with Lugo, who has pitched on back-to-back days only five times this season and never after a game in which he threw more than one inning.
"We've got to turn the page and learn from it and make sure we're ready for a better baseball game tomorrow," Lovullo said.
Both Wheeler and Gallen earned wins in their most recent starts last Wednesday.
Wheeler allowed one run over five innings as the Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 8-4. Gallen had the best start of his rookie season as he surrendered just one hit over seven scoreless innings in the Diamondbacks' 4-1 victory over the Padres.
Wheeler is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in six career starts against the Diamondbacks. Gallen didn't factor into the decision in his lone start against the Mets on July 13, when, as a member of the Miami Marlins, he allowed two runs over five innings in Miami's 4-2 loss.
--Field Level Media
Mets, D-backs to duel again in tight wild-card race
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