MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — DJ Stewart hit a two-run double in the ninth inning and the New York Mets overcame a career-high 14 strikeouts by Minnesota starter Pablo López to beat the Twins 2-0 on Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep.
López went eight innings for the Twins, who have a 7 1/2-game lead in the AL Central over Cleveland.
Stewart doubled to right-center off reliever Griffin Jax (6-9), who took over for López in the ninth. Francisco Lindor led off with a bloop double and Jeff McNeil was hit by a pitch — the third time a Mets batter was plunked in the game. Stewart connected on a full count two batters later.
“I knew he was a good pitcher, but he left one over the plate for me to hit,” said Stewart, who returned Saturday after missing three games with lower back stiffness. “I don’t get that situation if (Lindor) doesn’t hustle out of the box.”
New York left-hander Brooks Raley (1-2) struck out two in the eighth to earn the win. Adam Ottavino allowed a leadoff double in the ninth to Carlos Correa but held on for his ninth save.
Stewart struck out in his first three at-bats Sunday, all against López. With two strikes on him against Jax, Stewart delivered the biggest hit of the game.
“You’ve got an opportunity to take a challenging day and turn it into something good,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I was really proud of him like I was for (Lindor) running the ball out and being on second.”
Stewart is batting .323 (21 for 65) with 10 homers and 21 RBIs over his last 18 games.
López was brilliant, getting his 200th strikeout of the season when he fanned Lindor in the first. The right-hander became the ninth Twins pitcher to accomplish that feat, and the ninth Venezuelan-born pitcher in major league history to do so.
“It feels really good,” López said. “I think for starters, when you think 200 innings, 200 strikeouts, that’s one of the main goals every starter has going into the season. So to be able to reach the strikeout mark means a lot.”
López walked off the mound to a standing ovation after his 106th pitch ended the eighth. His 14 strikeouts marked the most by a Twins starter since Francisco Liriano whiffed 15 against Oakland on July 13, 2012.
The only two hits López allowed were a single by Brandon Nimmo to open the game and a third-inning single by Francisco Álvarez. López had multiple strikeouts in six of his eight innings.
“It was just beyond dominant,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He attacked them all, and he was able to get swings and misses against them all.”
Mets starter Tylor Megill held Minnesota to two hits in five innings. He walked four but allowed only one runner to reach third base.
The shutout was the sixth of the year for the Mets. Minnesota has been blanked 10 times.
The Twins placed INF Jorge Polanco on the bereavement list. OF Gilberto Celestino was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul.
Mets: Álvarez was removed in the seventh after getting hit on the outside of his right hand by a pitch from López in the third. He was replaced behind the plate by Omar Narváez. An X-ray on Álvarez’s hand was negative.