Monday’s Game Report: Mets 5, Cardinals 2
By Rob Rains
With Max Scherzer finally out of the game after seven shutout innings, the Cardinals scored twice in the eighth and found themselves a strike away from a win over the Mets on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
That strike never came.
Five times Mark Canha faced a two-strike pitch with two outs in the ninth inning against Giovanny Gallegos. The first two were balls. Then Canha fouled off a pitch, followed by another ball.
On the fifth two-strike pitch, he hit a ball toward third. Nolan Arenado fielded it, but threw wild to first, allowing a run to score and keeping the inning alive.
The play opened the door to a five-run inning that allowed the Mets to pull off the stunning victory.
Jeff McNeil followed with a double, sending the tying run to third, and when Gallegos was late covering first on a ball hit to Paul Goldschmidt, and then threw late to home, two runs scored to give the Mets the lead.
T.J.McFarland took over at that point but Brandon Nimmo hit his first pitch into the stands in right field for a two-run homer.
According to MLB research, it was the first time the Mets scored five or more runs with two outs in the ninth inning or later, after trailing at the start of the inning, in nearly 22 years.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had just two hits off Scherzer, both of them singles by Goldschmidt. Their only other baserunners in the first seven innings came on an error that let Tyler O’Neill reach base in the first and a walk to Tommy Edman in the third. Scherzer struck out 10 before he was lifted after throwing 101 pitches … With Scherzer out of the game, Yadier Molina and Harrison Bader singled to open the eighth and a walk to Goldschmidt loaded the bases. O’Neill followed with a single to left that scored both runs … It was Goldschmidt’s fourth consecutive multi-hit game, tying the second-longest streak of his career.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas matched the seven scoreless innings by Scherzer, allowing just four hits. He walked one and struck out five. Three runners reached second base, but Mikolas kept the Mets hitless in four at-bats with a runner on second. He has thrown a combined 12 scoreless innings in his last two starts and has allowed just one run in 18 innings over his last three starts … Mikolas’s seven innings was the longest start of the season for the Cardinals… Genesis Cabrera worked a 1-2-3 eighth before Gallegos suffered the blown save in the ninth.
Key stat: Scherzer, the St. Louis native, has not allowed a run in his last three starts against the Cardinals, covering 21 innings. Since Busch Stadium 3 opened in 2006, an opposing starter has struck out 10 or more Cardinals 21 times, five of them by Scherzer.
Worth noting: Brendan Donovan, recalled from Memphis before the game, made his major-league debut as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning and scored the first run of the game on O’Neill’s single. Donovan replaced Lars Nootbaar on the roster as he was optioned to Memphis to get more regular at-bats … The Cardinals have now gone 173 at-bats since their last home run.
Looking ahead: Jordan Hicks will make his second major-league start on Tuesday night, with the Cardinals hoping he can pitch five innings.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains