Díaz escapes in 8th, Mets take on MLB’s best Dodgers

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NEW YORK (AP) — Edwin Diaz hit Gavin Lux on a 102.8 mph fastball to escape a bunt in the eighth inning and the New York Mets beat the league-best Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Thursday.

Francisco Lindor singled in the sixth and scored the go-ahead run on a Darin Ruf sacrifice fly after the Mets were held to one hit in five innings by Clayton Kershaw, who was making his first start since Aug. 4.

NL East-leading New York took two of three from Los Angeles, its first straight win against the Dodgers since Sept. 3-5, 2011. LA lost back-to-back games for the first time since July 25-26. The last time the Dodgers dropped two at Citi Field was exactly seven years before that – July 25-26, 2015.

“They have a very good team,” Díaz said. “We showed them that we have a very good team as well. This is the team we can play in the playoffs.”

Chris Bassitt (12-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings for his fifth straight win, matching his total from last season with Oakland. He left after the Mets took a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

New York led 5-2 when Díaz opened the eighth by walking Freddie Freeman and plunking Will Smith. Freeman advanced to third on a warning track flyball by Max Muncy and scored on Justin Turner’s flyball near the 408-foot mark in center.

“I was a little angry because I wasn’t hitting my slider the way I wanted,” Díaz said.

After a mound visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, Díaz escaped by calling Lux the toughest pitch of his career and calmly walked off the mound. It was the fifth time in his last 13 appearances that the Mets have given up a closer in the eighth inning.

“He’s the best closer in baseball for a reason,” Lux said.

It was just the third run allowed in the last 34 appearances for Diaz, who has converted 19 of 19 opportunities in that span.

“I think he realized he wasn’t carrying the normal torque on his breaking ball,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He almost got hurt on some of them. He just decided to go with option B.”

Adam Ottavino followed with a perfect ninth for his third save.

Kershaw returned from a back injury and settled in after a rocky start. He struck out six and walked three, but was on a pitch count and pulled after throwing 73 pitches — three more than his simulated game Saturday in Miami.

“The first inning was obviously a little rough, but I’m thankful that he bounced back from it and got at least five outs,” Kershaw said.

It was the 15th time Kershaw allowed one hit or less and third time this season.

Lindor’s three-strikeout single was New York’s only hit until Starling Marte opened the sixth against Chris Martin (4-1) with an infield single. One pitch after a foul ball down the right field line, Lindor doubled to center as Marte scored easily.

Lindor stole third on the second pitch of Roof’s plate appearance, where Showalter left-handedly pulled Daniel Vogelbach from the on-deck circle. After fouling out on three pitches, Roof lofted a fly ball into the left field corner and Lindor raced home.

Brandon Nimmo added an RBI double in the seventh when his popup fell between second baseman Lux and right fielder Mookie Betts. Nimmo then scored on Marte’s single.

“Miscommunication, probably a ball I have to catch,” Lux said.

Kershaw walked three in a 25-pitch first inning, including the bases-loaded Mark Canha — the left-hander’s eighth career bases-loaded walk and his first since 2015. Kershaw then walked Jeff McNeil in a popup and retired his last 13 batters.

Chris Taylor hit a two-run single in the second for the Dodgers.

COACH ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Brusdar Graterol (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the injured list and will undergo an MRI on Friday. … RHP Tony Gonsolin (right forearm strain) will have an MRI on Friday and will be out for a few more days.

Mets: Francisco Alvarez, the club’s No. 1 prospect, was diagnosed with a loose right ankle, and a tentative plan is to resume baseball activities in three to four days based on his response to an injection. … Rookie 3B Brett Baty underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb.

NEXT

Dodgers: Dustin May (1-1, 1.64 ERA) makes his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery as Los Angeles opens a series Friday against San Diego and RHP Yu Darvish (11- 7, 3.41).

Mets: LHP David Peterson (7-3, 3.21) opposes RHP Josiah Gray (7-8, 4.67) in visiting Washington on Friday.

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