Friday’s Game Report: Mets 5, Cardinals 4
By Rob Rains
There was only one thing missing for Lane Thomas on Friday night.
First at-bat in the major leagues: check. First home run: check. First curtain call at Busch Stadium: check.
The only down side to the night for Thomas was that the Cardinals lost to the Mets, reducing his joy of his big moment, becoming the 10th player in team history to hit a home run in his first career at-bat.
It came as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, and the two-run shot – which originally was ruled a triple – cut the Mets lead to 5-3. The Cardinals added another run in the eighth but could not bring the tying run home.
The call of a triple was changed to a home run after a review by the umpires.
Thomas, who led all Cardinals’ minor-leaguers with 27 homers last season, most hit at Double A Springfield, was the first Cardinals player to homer in his first at-bat since Paul DeJong in 2017 and the first to do it at Busch Stadium since Hector Luna in 2004. He was the fourth all-time to do it as a pinch-hitter.
It also was the first pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals this season. Prior to the homer the team had a collective four hits in 30 pinch-hit at-bats.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Thomas’ homer was one of just three hits by the Cardinals in 13 at-bats with a runner in scoring position and the other two were infield singles … They got the potential tying run to third base with one out in the eighth but saw Jedd Gyorko pop out and Matt Carpenter ground out … In the ninth they got the would-be tying run to third with two outs before Yadier Molina flew out to end the game … As a team this season the Cardinals have a .230 average (38-of-165) with runners in scoring position and the usual top four in the batting order – Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna – are a combined 11-of-69, a .159 average … Jose Martinez also homered, his first of the year, and the Cardinals’ other run came home on a throwing error … Ozuna’s consecutive games streak of hitting a home run was snapped at four games.
On the mound: Adam Wainwright failed to get through the fourth inning as he gave up eight hits and four runs, three of them earned. The unearned run came after DeJong’s first error of the season … The only run allowed by the bullpen over the final six innings was a home run by Pete Alonso off Ryan Helsley, the only hit he allowed in two innings of work.
Key stat: The three-plus inning start for Wainwright was the eighth time in the Cardinals 19 games this season that their starting pitcher failed to get past the fourth inning. They have had six six-inning starts but have not had a starter record an out in the seventh inning.
Worth noting: For the second night in a row Alex Reyes’ scheduled start in Memphis was rained out. The Redbirds will play a doubleheader on Saturday with Reyes expected to start one of the games. The starting assignment does not change the expected role for Reyes but will let him pitch in a more structured format and will allow him to also work in the bullpen between starts because he will know that he won’t be needed to pitch in the game that night … Luke Gregerson’s rehab has been moved to Memphis … Carlos Martinez is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Saturday and if there are no issues likely will move his rehab back to Florida next week and begin facing live hitters in the extended spring training program.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals and Mets play game two of the series at 1:15 on Saturday with Miles Mikolas scheduled to start. Jacob DeGrom was scheduled to start for the Mets, but he was put on the injured list on Friday with a sore elbow.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
POST GAME AUDIO: Mike Shildt, Lane Thomas, Adam Wainwright