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Mets split four-game series with Padres

Marcus Stroman’s decision to accept the Mets’ $18.9 million qualifying offer this offseason came as a modest surprise in baseball circles, particularly after the right-hander had talked so openly about wanting to explore free agency. Evolving market conditions eventually changed his tune, and for that, the Mets were glad. One less thing to worry about.

As promised, Stroman has indeed strengthened the rotation, providing stability to a group that has needed it. With Carlos Carrasco sidelined indefinitely and David Peterson struggling, Stroman has not only slid into the No. 2 slot behind Jacob deGrom in the rotation, but looked the part as well.

His sharp outing in the Mets’ 6-2 win over the Padres on Sunday allowed his team to salvage a four-game split at Petco Park, despite consecutive losses to open the series. Stroman struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings, lowered his ERA to 2.41 and even contributed an RBI double to provide some late insurance.

The Mets gave Stroman an early lead on Billy McKinney’s RBI single off Chris Paddack in the third. Dominic Smith and James McCann later homered for the Mets, who have spent 29 consecutive days alone in first place in the National League East.

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