On a cold and blustery Wednesday night, the New York Mets braved the elements to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2, improving their record to 11-10. On a night where the focus was on Cardinals young pitching phenom Michael Wacha, Mets 28-year-old starter Jonathon Niese shined.
The lefty veteran went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run while striking out three batters while collecting his first victory. In the sixth inning first baseman Lucas Duda blasted a 400 plus foot home run that landed on the Shea Bridge in deep right-center, putting the Mets up for good. The Cardinals made a late charge in the ninth inning, but the Mets bullpen held giving New York the victory.
Third baseman Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single to left field. Niese then struck out second baseman Mark Ellis for the first out. Left fielder Matt Holliday followed with a walk, putting runners at first and second.
First baseman Adam Craig hit a groundball that Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy played on a short hop. Murphy threw to shortstop Ruben Tejada for the force out and Carpenter was caught in a run down.
Tejada allowed Carpenter to get back to second; erroneously believing Murphy had caught the ball in the air, completing a double play. With still two outs in the inning, catcher Yadier Molina hit a groundball that bounced off the third base bag for a double scoring Carpenter, giving St. Louis an early 1-0 lead. Niese then induced shortstop Jhonny Peralta to hit a groundball to third for the final out of the inning.
Getting the start in centerfield, Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out swinging to start the bottom of the first. Right fielder Curtis Granderson then lined a single to right, breaking his 0-22 hitless streak. Third baseman David Wright and Daniel Murphy each struck out swinging for outs numbers two and three.
Both teams were held scoreless for the next two innings, but the Mets were held hitless. Michael Wacha struck out the side in both innings. Yadier Molina walked to start the top of the fourth inning.
Jhonny Peralta skied a pop up into the wind that Lucas Duda caught for the first out. Centerfielder Peter Burjos popped up a ball past the infield, but the wind blew it back and it fell in between Ruben Tejada and David Wright. Molina was forced out at second on the play for out number two. Shane Robinson then grounded out to Jonathon Niese for the final out of the inning.
Daniel Murphy singled to left to start the bottom of the fourth. Left fielder Chris Young then hit into a fielder’s choice and Murphy was forced out at second. Duda walked, putting runners at first and second with one out. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud then blooped a single to right to load the bases.
Michael Wacha then walked Ruben Tejada to bring in Young, tying the game at 1-1. Wacha then struck out Niese for the second out, but walked Kirk Nieuwenhuis to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Curtis Granderson hit a pop up to third for the last out of the inning. Having thrown 93 pitches at that point, Wacha’s night was done. The young pitcher struck out 10 batters but walked five. Going into tonight’s game Wacha had walked just four total batters in three previous starts.
The Cardinals and Mets were held scoreless in fifth inning and Niese made quick work of St. Louis batters in the top of the sixth. Lucas Duda crushed a pitch to deep center for a home run extending the Mets lead to 3-1.
Travis d’Arnaud hit a groundball to Jhonny Peralta who made a bad throw to first, and d’Arnaud was safe at first due to the error. Ruben Tejada struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. d’Arnaud advanced to second on a balk after pitcher Seth Maness’ spikes got caught in the mound. Maness struck out Niese swinging, but then he was pulled as part of a double switch that brought in John Jay to replace Petere Burjos in center and Randy Choate to pitch for Maness. Kirk Nieuwenhuis then grounded out to end the inning.
Both teams failed to score in the seventh inning. Matt Holliday started the top of the eighth with a ground out to short. Adam Craig singled to left and Yadier Molina followed with a double to left, putting both runners in scoring position with only one out.
Jhonny Peralta popped out to second for out number two. First baseman Mike Adams was called to pinch-hit for Pat Neshek, who pitched a scoreless seventh for St. Louis. Manager Terry Collins pulled Carlos Torres, who replaced Daisuke Matsuzaka to start the seventh, in favor of lefty specialist Scott Rice. Rice got Mike Adams to fly out to end the inning.
The Mets went in order in the bottom half of the eighth. Kyle Farnsworth came in to close out the game for New York in the top of the ninth. Shane Robinson struck out swinging, but John Jay singled in the gap in left-center, and Matt Carpenter singled to left for his fourth hit of the night, putting runners at first and second with one out.
Infielder Danny Descalso was called to pinch-hit for Mark Ellis. Descalso smoked a ball in the gap in left center bouncing off the wall. John Jay scored making it 3-2 New York. On the same play Kirk Nieuwenhuis gunned the ball to Ruben Tejada who threw a strike to Travis d’Arnaud who applied the tag on Matt Carpenter for the second out. The umpires reviewed the play but the call was upheld. Matt Holliday then skied a ball to right field. The wind kept blowing the ball further and further away from Curtis Granderson but the veteran made the catch to end the game.
Niese earned his first win of the year, to improve his record to 1-2 on the year and Farnsworth notched his second save on the season. Wacha took the loss for St. Louis dropping his record to 2-2 this year. The Mets and Cardinals play again tomorrow afternoon, in the series finale at Citi Field. Bartolo Colon takes the mound for the Mets squaring off against the Cardinals Lance Lynn.
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