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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Mets' Rene Rivera sent a shot up the middle, a certain two-run single that would close the gap with the Padres.
But Allen Cordoba had other ideas and his diving stab help preserve a 6-3 win for the Padres on Wednesday night.
"I saw the ball come off the bat and I just wanted to try and make the play and not let any runs score," he said through a translator.
Cordoba stretched to field the ball, bounced to his feet and fired to first to retire Rivera.
"That was as big of a play as we have had all year," Padres manager Andy Green said.
They were other standouts as Luis Torrens had three RBIs, Manuel Margot homered and Jhoulys Chacin was effective through 5 1/3 innings. But it was Cordoba's web gem which was likely the difference.
"That was a game-changing play," Green said.
Torrens' first career triple came with the bases loaded in the Padres' four-run third inning. Margot's first-inning homer set the tone as the Mets lost for just the second time in their last eight games.
Chacin (10-7), who had lost five of six decisions to the Mets, flipped that script with a solid outing. He reached the double-digit victory mark for the first time since 2013 by allowing two runs and four hits. The right-hander walked three and struck out five in lifting his home mark to 6-2.
Brad Hand worked the ninth, earning his fourth save and pushing his scoreless string to 17 1/3 innings.
Steven Matz (2-4) lasted only three innings as he lost his third straight decision and extended his streak to five outings without a win. He surrendered six runs and nine hits, with four strikeouts.
"If you don't locate, you're going to get knocked around in this league," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You gotta get the ball off the middle of the plate."
In his last three starts Matz has pitched a total of nine innings, charged with 16 runs and 27 hits.
"I don't feel fatigued," Matz said. "I feel good and healthy out there. There's really no excuses to how I'm pitching."
Wilmer Flores' homer in the eighth sliced the Mets' deficit to 6-3.
The Mets crawled within 6-2 in the sixth when Jose Reyes drew a bases-loaded walk after they chased Chacin. Rene Rivera followed with a sharp grounder up the middle, but shortstop Allen Cordoba made a diving stab and he was able to throw out Rivera to quell the rally.
San Diego pulled away in the third inning. The big blow was Torrens' triple, which was nearly a grand slam. The ball smacked the top of the right-center field wall, scoring all three baserunners.
Before Torrens' two-out, bases-clearing hit, Margot and Wil Myers' delivered consecutive doubles, with Myers' chasing in Margot after his second extra-base hit.
Margot has five hits in the past two games and a team-high 23 multi-hit games.
The Padres struck quickly when Margot stroked a two-run homer for a 2-0 lead. Margot's first-inning homer, his sixth of the year, was hit 419 feet over the center-field fence.
Mets: Manager Terry Collins said INF Neil Walker (torn left hamstring) could rejoin the club for this weekend's series in Seattle. When Walker returns, he could see time at third base. His 58 starts this year have been at second base.
Padres: INF Yangervis Solarte (strained left oblique) is being sent out to a rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Thursday.
Mets: RHP Chris Flexen makes his major league debut as he maneuvers the jump from Double-A Binghamton. He's the first Mets starting pitcher since Mike Pelfrey in 2006 to skip Triple-A. Flexen was 6-1 in the minors, which included a stint with Single-A St. Lucie.
Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo (9-7, 4.26 ERA), whose 10 quality starts are second on the Padres, has never faced the Mets but he is 4-1 lifetime against NL East teams. His three triples are the most by a pitcher since Dontrelle Willis matched that number in 2007.
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