NEW YORK — Zack Wheeler pitched one-run ball over seven innings, Justin Wilson navigated four difficult outs for his first save since April and the New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Tuesday night.
New York has taken the first two games in this key four-game set between NL playoff contenders. Arizona had won 11 of 14 and opened the day 2 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card.
Todd Frazier drove a pair of run-scoring doubles for the Mets, who began the day four games behind the Cubs.
Diamondbacks rookie Zac Gallen (3-5) pitched three-run ball over six innings, becoming the second NL pitcher to begin his career with 14 consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or fewer. Montreal’s Steve Rogers had 18 such consecutive outings in 1973.
With Mets closer Seth Lugo unavailable after pitching two innings Monday, Wilson go this first save opportunity since April 2, when he got five outs to finish off Miami. The left-hander allowed two singles in the ninth, induced a groundout and then got another out on a bizarre play by first baseman Pete Alonso. The Polar Bear dived for a liner by Ketel Marte, smothered it, stepped on first for an out and then let a baserunner take second while he tried unsuccessfully to back-pick the lead runner at third. Wilson then struck out Wilmer Flores to wrap up his second save.
Former closer Edwin Díaz was warming in the bullpen but did not pitch after a pair of stunning blown saves last week, including a week ago in Washington when his meltdown capped the Nationals’ seven-run ninth inning rally.
Eduardo Escobar homered off reliever Brad Brach and drove in two for Arizona. He has 112 RBIs.
Wheeler (11-7) struck out seven and allowed seven hits and two walks. The right-hander, set to become a free agent after the season, has a 1.50 ERA over his past three starts.
Gallen struck out nine, including three each against All-Stars Jeff McNeil and Alonso atop the Mets batting order. Gallen is the first pitcher to strike out McNeil three times in a game. He has a 2.66 ERA this season.
The bottom of New York’s lineup bailed out its stars. Frazier hit a two-run double in the second inning and anther RBI double off the left field wall in the fourth. Robinson Canó added two hits and is 8 for 18 since returning from the injured list following a torn left hamstring.
Arizona got its lone run off Wheeler in the first. Marte led off with a single, stole second without a throw and scored on Escobar’s single.AlertMe