David Peterson took the latest clamors for his removal from the Mets rotation — not that the team is overflowing with viable alternatives — and launched them into the night.
For six innings on Monday, the team received a healthy dose of Peterson’s upside. This was the pitcher who had outperformed expectations last season as a rookie and helped keep the Mets rotation from imploding.
Following two abysmal starts, the left-hander turned in his best career performance in carrying the Mets to their fourth victory in five games, 5-2 over the Cubs at Citi Field.
Peterson allowed only one hit over his six shutout innings, with three strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs got their only runs on consecutive homers by Anthony Rizzo and Patrick Wisdom in the seventh against slumping reliever Trevor May.
Over his previous two starts, against the Diamondbacks and Orioles, Peterson (2-5) had lasted three innings combined and allowed nine earned runs, overextending the Mets’ bullpen in the process. On this night he was efficient, working quickly and throwing only 73 pitches. It marked the first time in the left-hander’s major league career that he lasted at least six innings without surrendering an earned run. Peterson’s ERA dropped from 6.32 to 5.60 with the strong outing.
Peterson faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings: He walked Wisdom leading off the second but got Jake Marisnick to hit into a double play. Peterson allowed a single to Eric Sogard in the third that was wiped out with a pickoff.
In the first inning, Kris Bryant struck out on a 96.2 mph fastball, the fastest pitch of Peterson’s major league career.
Kevin Pillar’s two-run double was the Mets’ big hit in the fourth when they took a 3-0 lead against Jake Arrieta. The previous batter, James McCann, hit a jam-shot RBI single to center.
Dominic Smith snapped his 0-for-20 drought and started the rally. The left fielder was moved up to third in the lineup, between Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso so he might receive more pitches to hit. Billy McKinney followed Smith’s single with a walk, setting the table for McCann.
Smith cleared the center-field fence for a two-out blast in the fifth that extended the Mets’ lead to 4-0. The homer was Smith’s fifth of the season and first at home since April 13.
Brandon Drury slapped a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth that gave the Mets a 5-0 lead after reliever Tommy Nance issued two-out walks to Pillar and Luis Guillorme.
Arrieta was removed after allowing four earned runs on four hits and four walks over five innings. The veteran right-hander has pitched to a 5.14 ERA this season.
May, who hadn’t pitched in eight days, was removed after only two-thirds of an inning in the seventh. The right-hander has been scored upon in four of his last five appearances and now owns a 4.57 ERA.
Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances.