Mets, D-backs battle each other for wild-card survival

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(AP) -- The task facing the host New York Mets isn't any different after opening a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a pair of wins. But now both teams are feeling the desperation of trying to stay in the National League wild-card race.

Steven Matz (9-8, 4.00 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray (12-7, 4.03 ERA) in a battle of left-handers.

The Mets gained ground in the wild-card race with a 3-2 win Tuesday night, making the Diamondbacks' path to the postseason more difficult.

Todd Frazier had all three RBIs for the Mets, who hung on for the victory when Justin Wilson recorded the final out by whiffing Wilmer Flores with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

The Mets are familiar with what Flores can do in the clutch after he had a franchise-record 10 walk-off RBIs when he played for the Mets from 2013-18.

The save was just the second of the season for Wilson, who was asked to get the final four outs because the Mets' only other reliable reliever, Seth Lugo, was unavailable after recording a six-out save Monday in New York's 3-1 win.

"I kind of feel right now (that) we have to win that day and we'll do anything to do that," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said afterward. "There could be a scenario (Wednesday) where Wilson and Lugo aren't available. But we won two games, and that's what it's about."

The victory allowed the Mets (74-70) to move within three games of the Chicago Cubs in the race for the second NL wild card. The Cubs fell to the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 10 innings.

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, took a third straight loss, leaving them in almost as precarious a position as the Mets. Arizona (75-70) remained 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs and just a half-game ahead of the Mets.

The Diamondbacks, who have scored just six runs in the past three games, also trail the Milwaukee Brewers (76-68) and the Philadelphia Phillies (75-69) in the race for the second wild card.

"This is the crunch time part of the year, and it's like playoff baseball," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said afterward. "Their guy just got up there at the right time and drove in all three runs in the right situation, and we unfortunately didn't get the big hit in the same types of situations."

Neither Matz nor Ray factored into the decision in their most recent starts last Friday. Matz gave up two runs over 5 2/3 innings as the Mets beat the Phillies 5-4. Ray allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings in the Diamondbacks' 7-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Matz is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks. Ray is 2-0 with an 0.82 ERA in four starts against the Mets.

New York will hope for a bounce-back performance from two of its top hitters on Wednesday. Leadoff man Jeff McNeil, one of the NL's leading hitters with a .322 average, and rookie Pete Alonso, the major league leader with 47 homers, both went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Tuesday.

--Field Level Media

Updated September 11, 2019