By JAKE SEINER AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Dinelson Lamet overpowered the Mets in his major league debut, New York’s Rafael Montero labored on short notice and the San Diego Padres won 4-3 on a rainy Thursday night.
Scattered showers soaked Queens all day, and thunderstorms were forecast for midgame, although heavy rain never came. Mets manager Terry Collins pushed back scheduled starter Jacob deGrom to try avoiding an abbreviated outing, instead telling Montero around 3:45 p.m. that he’d start the 7:10 p.m. contest.
Montero (0-4) allowed two runs during a 45-pitch first inning, including a bases-loaded walk to Matt Szczur. Montero threw 87 pitches over three innings, giving up three runs, five hits and three walks. His ERA rose to 8.24.
Lamet (1-0) began his day by striking out Michael Conforto on three fastballs _ the last at 98 mph _ and cruised through five innings of one-run ball. The 24-year-old right-hander punched out eight and surrendered just three hits, including Lucas Duda’s solo homer in the second.
Brad Hand allowed a run, but got the save by escaping a jam in the ninth for the second straight night. He got his first save of the season Wednesday.
Jay Bruce popped out in foul territory with a runner at first to end it.
New York had runners reach base in each of the final five innings, including two on and two outs in the sixth and seventh innings, but left-hander Ryan Buchter evaded both jams.
The Mets have lost eight of their past 11 games, and even red-hot Conforto had a miserable night in the rain. The leadoff hitter had struck out in five straight at-bats, including four on Thursday, before singling to right off Hand in the ninth inning. The left fielder also appeared to lose a pop fly in the rain or lights during the third inning, covering his head while the ball dropped about 30 feet away just inside the foul line. Hunter Renfroe ended up with a double and later scored on Szczur’s single.
Conforto had reached in eight of 10 plate appearances in the first two games of the series and entered batting .341 with a team-leading 13 homers.
In the third, Jose Reyes doubled down the third-base line with Matt Reynolds at first, but the Padres executed a 7-6-2 relay with shortstop Chase d’Arnaud narrowly throwing out Reynolds at the plate.
Duda added an RBI single in the eighth.
Szczur has 15 RBIs in 15 career at-bats with the bases loaded.
San Diego rookie Allen Cordoba had two hits in his first game batting leadoff. Despite never playing above the Rookie-level Appalachian League before this year, the Rule 5 draft pick from St. Louis is batting .307.
TOO MUCH RELIEF
The Mets used at least three relievers for the 26th straight game, the longest run in team history by 11 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
On Thursday, Collins attempted to clarify comments he’d made the day before about his role in relaying injury news to reporters. Collins said Wednesday he was “not at liberty” to discuss Bruce’s injury situation, an apparently new restriction for the normally candid manager.
Collins said the team is going to try to avoid predicting publicly when players will return from injuries because “no one really knows when anybody’s going to be ready” while they’re recovering and rehabbing.
“I get in trouble because I try to be as honest as I can with you guys and give you an honest look at things,” Collins said. “And then if it doesn’t happen, we look like an idiot when we’re not, because there’s no guarantees.”
Padres: OF Manuel Margot is out at least through Friday’s game at Washington after experiencing tightness in his right calf this week.
Mets: SS Asdrubal Cabrera came off the DL and entered as a pinch hitter. C Kevin Plawecki was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas. … Bruce started in right field after leaving Tuesday’s game with tightness in his back and sitting out Wednesday.
Padres: Luis Perdomo (0-1, 5.79) gets the ball against Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 3.28) and the Washington Nationals to begin a three-game set.
Mets: DeGrom (3-1, 3.56) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Pirates, pushing Zack Wheeler back to Saturday. Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85) is coming off his best start this season for Pittsburgh, pitching five innings of one-hit ball in a 1-0 win over the Phillies on Sunday. Storms are forecast in Pittsburgh throughout the weekend.
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