Padres batter Max Scherzer, rout Mets in opener

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Yu Darvish threw seven strong innings, the Padres hit four homers off Max Scherzer and San Diego cruised to a 7-1 win over the host New York Mets on Friday in the opener of a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Josh Bell, Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado all went deep for San Diego as Scherzer gave up the most homers he has surrendered in a postseason game. The four tied his highest from any regular-season game, a figure the three-time Cy Young Award reached three times previously.

The fifth-seeded Padres will go for the sweep Saturday night behind left-hander Blake Snell. The Mets had yet to officially announce a starter, but it is expected they will send their co-ace — two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom — to the mound in the must-win contest.

Game 3, if necessary, would be played Sunday night in New York. The winner of the series advances to face the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

Scherzer ran into trouble immediately when Profar blooped a single on the first pitch of the game before Bell hit a two-out homer well into the left field seats. Grisham hit a solo shot with two outs in the second, after which Scherzer retired seven straight before Ha-Seong Kim singled leading off the fifth.

On consecutive one-out pitches in the fifth, Scherzer gave up a ground-rule double to Austin Nola and a three-run homer to Profar as the Padres extended the lead to 6-0.

After Juan Soto grounded out, Machado homered to left. The All-Star third baseman shouted while sprinting around the bases as New York manager Buck Showalter trudged to the mound to relieve Scherzer, who received a loud chorus of boos on his way to the dugout.

Grisham said of the Padres’ explosion against Scherzer: “I don’t think anybody goes out there and expects that we’re going to hit four homers off him tonight, but we have a lot of confidence in the guys in this locker room and we were not surprised that we went out there and handled business.”

The seven runs were the most ever allowed by Scherzer in a playoff game. His postseason ERA rose from 3.22 to 3.58 after giving up seven runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Scherzer struck out four without issuing a walk.

“Yeah, of course I’m disappointed,” Scherzer said. “Baseball can take you to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and this is one of the lowest of lows.”

Darvish allowed six hits — including Eduardo Escobar’s one-out homer in the fifth — and walked none while fanning four. He is 3-0 a 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Mets this season.

Darvish said of pitching with a big lead, “It obviously gives you a little bit of breathing room, but I think I was more shocked of the fact that Scherzer (was) giving up that (many) runs because you don’t see that very often.”

Escobar had two hits, and teammate Starling Marte, who hadn’t played since Sept. 6 due to a broken right middle finger, had two hits and two stolen bases.

Profar and Kim each had two hits for the Padres. Robert Suarez and Luis Garcia each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the win.

–By Jerry Beach, Field Level Media

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