Five things to know from Monday’s game
1. LHP Joey Lucchesi got hit hard in his third start of 2021. He surrendered six runs on seven hits (two home runs) in 2 2/3 IP, throwing 63 pitches (39 strikes). After allowing a run in each of the first two frames, a four-run fourth — highlighted by Nolan Arenado‘s three-run shot to left — turned the night upside down for Lucchesi (0-2, 10.13 ERA). Following Arenado’s game-tying long ball, back-to-back doubles by Paul DeJong and Tyler O’Neill tacked on one more run, giving the Cardinals a 6-5 edge.
2. The Mets gave opposing starter Adam Wainwright a troublesome second- and third-inning stretch, but the Cardinals RHP ultimately settled in — scattering five runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking three over 5 1/3 IP — after St. Louis regained a one-run lead.
New York worked Wainwright (1-3, 4.72 ERA) into trouble in the second frame, following a double by 1B Pete Alonso and single from CF Kevin Pillar with an intentional walk to 3B Jonathan Villar, loading the bases. Wainwright hit C Tomas Nido, forcing in a run, and another came across two batters later when 2B Jeff McNeil worked the count full and earned a free pass to put the Mets up 2-1.
3. Picking up where they left off with their two-run second inning, the Mets took a 5-2 lead in the third, thanks to a two-run homer by Pillar. After a leadoff walk by RF Michael Conforto, Alonso — who went 3-for-4 with two runs and one walk — doubled, and LF Dominic Smith‘s fielder’s choice to first put the Mets up 3-2. Pillar’s blast to center built New York’s cushion to 5-2.
4. Following a disappointing bottom half of the third, the Mets bullpen kept the Cardinals at bay. RHPs Robert Gsellman and Sean Reid-Foley subsequently combined to fire 4 1/3 scoreless innings before giving way to RHP Jacob Barnes, who pitched a clean bottom of the eighth, stranding Arenado after a one-out walk and giving the Mets a chance entering the ninth.
5. Cardinals closer Alex Reyes got McNeil to pop up but walked SS Francisco Lindor on four pitches. Conforto flew out, but Reyes’ command was off again to Alonso, who walked on five pitches. With Lindor as the tying run on second, Smith put together a tough at-bat, but ultimately flew out to left.
The Mets (11-12) and Cardinals (17-12) continue a four-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis with Tuesday’s 7:45 p.m. matchup on SNY.
Mets ace RHP Jacob deGrom (2-2, 0.51 ERA) looks to continue a dominant 2021 start against the Cards, who go with RHP Johan Oviedo (0-0, 2.79 ERA).
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