Jeremy Hefner is turning out to be a very serviceable starter. He turned in another solid start on Saturday in San Diego, as the Mets assured themselves a winning road trip.
The Mets scored four runs in the second, courtesy of Padres starter Edinson Volquez. Ike Davis led off the inning with a single. Volquez then walked Daniel Murphy and Mike Baxter to load the bases. Andres Torres struck out and Volquez walked Josh Thole to force in a run. Jeremy Hefner struck out and Ruben Tejada walked to make it 2-0. Jordany Valdespin followed with a double to plate two more runs. That was all for Volquez after just 1.2 innings. Brad Boxberger came in to strike out David Wright to end the inning.
The Padres got on the board in the third — Alexi Amarista drove in Everth Cabrera from second to make it 4-1.
The Mets loaded the bases again in the fifth off Cory Burns in his first major league game — Wright walked and moved to second on a ground out. Murphy singled to advance Wright to third and Baxter walked. But Torres struck out for the third time and Thole flew out to center to end the threat.
They threatened again in the seventh — Daniel Murphy led off with a double and Baxter walked. Torres sacrificed to put runners on second and third with one out. Thole hit a grounder back to the pitcher that rattled around his legs. Thole was thrown out at first but Murphy scored to make it 5-1. Interestingly, Terry Collins chose to pinch hit Scott Hairston for Hefner with two outs and a four run lead. Hefner threw just 72 pitches and could have gone longer. Hairston popped out.
Hefner still had the best start of his career, allowing one run on five hits in six innings. He only struck out two batters but he didn’t walk anyone. In contrast, Padres pitchers walked 10 Mets.
The Mets made it 6-1 in the eighth when Davis singled to drive in Tejada. Murphy, who went four-for-four, followed with a single and Baxter walked for the fifth time in the game. The record, by the way, is six. Dale Thayer came on with the bases loaded and two outs. Torres grounded out.
Bobby Parnell came on to pitch the ninth and allowed a lead-off home run to Chase Headley to make it 6-2. He then allowed a double and a walk. He was lifted with one out in favor of Frank Francisco. In his first game since June 22, Francisco needed just two pitches to induce a game-ending double play for his 19th save of the season.
Mets win 6-2. They are now 6-4 on this West coast trip with one game left in San Diego.