SAN DIEGO — Eduardo Escobar had singled, doubled and homered when he came to the plate in the ninth inning for one final at-bat Monday night.
Facing lefty Tim Hill, he quickly fell behind in the count before slicing a shot to right field. The ball eluded Nomar Mazar’s outstretched glove and Escobar kept running. Triple.
Escobar’s monster night was complete as he became the first Mets player in a decade to hit for the cycle, leading his team’s 11-5 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.
The veteran infielder finished 4-for-5 with six RBIs in becoming the first Mets player since Scott Hairston in 2012 to hit for the cycle. Escobar became the 11th player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
Escobar said he went to the plate in the ninth knowing he needed the triple, telling himself, “If the ball is in the park I am going to run to third base.”
The Mets won their third straight and improved to 3-2 on the west coast trip. They jumped on lefty Blake Snell early and never relented in moving a season-high 19 games above .500.
Escobar’s two-run homer in the eighth against Craig Stammen buried the Padres in a 7-2 hole. He returned in the ninth for the knockout punch, driving in two more with the triple, after the Padres had sliced the lead to two runs.
“Tonight was a special night for me, but the most important thing for me is the win,” Escobar said, as the ball from his historic hit rested behind him on a shelf in his locker.
Escobar is 20-for-60 (.333) over his last 14 games, adding to a lineup that is receiving big production from Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, among others.
“Any cycle is fun to watch, but especially [Escobar] – you know how much he means to his teammates,” Buck Showalter said. “It’s almost like they hit it.”
Escobar credited hitting coach Eric Chavez and his teammates for his recent turnaround, which included a 10-pitch at-bat Sunday before hitting a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against the Dodgers that put the Mets ahead.
“I’m so happy I have started hitting now and I am helping the team win,” Escobar said.
With the bullpen on fumes after a strenuous weekend at Dodger Stadium that included an extra-inning game in the finale, Carlos Carrasco’s job was to pitch deep into the night, allowing little.
On both counts, the veteran right-hander delivered. Carrasco’s performance, in which he allowed two earned runs on five hits and struck out 10 over 105 pitches, was his third this season of at least seven innings. Entering the day only seven other pitchers this season had multiple starts of at least seven innings.
Showalter certainly appreciated the length after emptying his bullpen a day earlier in a 10-inning victory over the Dodgers that included a blown save by Seth Lugo in the ninth.
“That was my goal, to get six-plus innings,” Carrasco said. “And I was able to give them seven.”
The Padres got close late, using Luke Voit’s three-run homer in the eighth against Drew Smith to pull within 7-5. But Smith got the final out in the inning before pitching a scoreless ninth. Two of the runs in the eighth were charged to Joely Rodriguez, who allowed two of the three batters he faced to reach base.
The Mets sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning against Snell and gave Carrasco a three-run lead before he even threw a pitch. Escobar stroked a two-run single after Snell had walked three straight batters, including J.D. Davis with the bases loaded.
Starling Marte started the rally with a single and stolen base. After Lindor struck out for the second out, Snell walked Alonso, Mark Canha and Davis in succession. By the time he retired Jeff McNeil to conclude the inning, Snell had thrown 43 pitches.
Escobar’s double leading off the fourth and Brandon Nimmo’s two-out RBI single extended the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Nimmo remained in the lineup a day after he was drilled by a pitch in the right hand.
Manny Machado’s throwing error in the fifth on Pete Alonso’s grounder led to the Mets knocking out Snell and scoring an unearned run. Mark Canha doubled Alonso to third and Davis’ sacrifice fly gave the Mets a 5-1 lead.
Snell allowed five runs, one unearned, over four-plus innings on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks. The left-hander boosted his ERA to 5.68 in four starts after opening the season on the injured list.
Carrasco’s last act was to escape the seventh. After recording two quick outs he surrendered a single to Ha-Seong Kim and an RBI double to Mazara. After a visit to the mound from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, the right-hander struck out Jorge Alfaro on pitch No. 105.