Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Mets 4
By Rob Rains
An old adage in baseball is that a team usually will not get beat by giving up solo homers. The Cardinals on Sunday tried to put that theory to the test.
They gave up four homers, all solo shots, but still won the game even though they had only eight hits, six of them singles.
“The saying rang true today,” said manager Mike Shildt. “It actually speaks to our ability to score and compete and win in different ways.”
It was the third time in team history they allowed four runs, all on solo homers. The other two occasions came in 1954 and 1955.
Starter Dakota Hudson gave up three of the homes, although Dexter Fowler should have earned an assist on one when a high fly ball hit by pitcher Noah Syndergaard hit off his glove and bounced over the wall.
One of the other homers was hit by Pete Alonso, the Mets’ hot rookie first baseman and a former college rival of Hudson’s when Alonso played at Florida and Hudson was at Mississippi State.
Hudson hung a slider and Alonso didn’t miss it, sending it over the grass in center field, measured at 444 feet.
Alonso begged Mets manager Mickey Callaway to leave him in the lineup on Sunday to face Hudson after he was hit on the hand by a pitch on Saturday. Hudson had held him hitless in four at-bats over two games in their college careers in 2015 and 2016. They never faced each other in the minors.
“I feel like we are just two very competitive players,” Hudson said. “I don’t feel like there is anything personal. Nobody likes going 0-for just like nobody likes giving up home runs. I feel that’s a back-and-forth that we will be able to keep continuing. Playing in the SEC, that just kind of brought out that atmosphere.
“He’s doing exactly what he was doing there. … The solo homers didn’t beat us.”
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals scored three runs in the second, including a two-run single from Paul Goldschmidt. They added two in the third, including the second RBI of the season from Dexter Fowler, and another in the fourth on a double by Marcell Ozuna that increased his RBI total to 17 through the first 21 games … The other RBIs came from Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong … They had hit at least one home run in their previous seven games and this was only the fourth time in 21 games they failed to hit at least one homer. They are 3-1 in those games.
On the mound: Hudson got his first major-league win as a starter, allowing five hits, including the three homers, in five innings. He has now allowed eight homers in 18 innings, tied for the second most in the NL … The Mets other homer came off Andrew Miller … The homer by Syndergaard was the fourth given up this season to an opposing pitcher. The last time they gave up more than four homers to pitchers was in 1955, when it happened a franchise-high nine.
Key stat: Jordan Hicks earned his fifth save, allowing only a single to Alonso on a 102 mph fastball. Of his 17 pitches, 13 were timed at 101 mph or higher. His first pitch to Alonso was 103.7 and the final pitch of the game, a called strike, was 104.2, the fastest pitch in the majors this season.
Worth noting: The Cardinals have not allowed a run in the ninth inning or later in their last 15 games and have allowed just three total in their 21 games this season … The win improved the Cardinals’ record to 10-4 in games not involving the Milwaukee Brewers and they have now won seven of their last eight games at home … Catcher Francisco Pena, after working out in Florida waiting for a roster spot, has joined the Memphis Redbirds. He played in his first game on Saturday night, going 1-of-3.
Looking ahead: The Brewers and Cardinals open a three-game series on Monday night at Busch Stadium after playing seven games already in Milwaukee. Jack Flaherty is scheduled to start on Monday night, followed by Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Mike Shildt, Dakota Hudson, Jose Martinez, Andrew Miller