The Cardinals defeated the Mets Sunday afternoon, 4-3, brightening Father’s Day grillouts everywhere Sunday afternoon. The victory makes the Cardinals 10-6 in their last 16 games, 3-1-1 in their last five series, and 1-0 this season when wearing what can best be described as acid-washed jean hats.
It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to score on Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas. Paul DeJong walked in the first inning with one out, and Paul Goldschmidt blasted his 13th homerun to leftfield for a 2-0 lead.
4⃣2⃣2⃣ feet— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 16, 2019
Home run number 13 for number 46 pic.twitter.com/DPpyVWCfAQ
The Mets returned the favor on Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson when Dominic Smith led off with a double and J.D. Davis laced a single to drive him home. Michael Conforto grounded into a force out and Pete Alonso lined out to DeJong for two outs. Then Hudson walked Robinson Cano. A wild pitch placed Conforto on third before Hudson escaped the jam when Adeiny Hechavarria flied out to Dexter Fowler in right field. In general, Hudson struggled with his command, throwing just eight strikes in twenty pitches in the inning.
Vargas retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the second, but Hudson’s struggles returned in the bottom of the second when he yielded a leadoff single to Juan Lagares. With a 2-1 count on the next hitter, Mets catcher Tomas Nido, Lagares stole second base. He was originally ruled out on the attempt, but a challenge overturned the play. Nido grounded out to DeJong, advancing Lagares to third. Hudson struck out Vargas, then walked Smith to place runners at the corners. Yet again, Hudson escaped danger with a flyball to Fowler, preserving the 2-1 lead just as the rain briefly arrived.
Vargas ran his streak of consecutive hitters retired to eight in the top of the third when he struck out the side. In the bottom half of the inning, Hudson retired the first two hitters before allowing a double to Cano. Hechavarria then tied the game with an RBI single, advancing to second on the throw home. Lagares followed with a single to score Hechavarria, but was thrown out at second by Fowler on the play. The three straight base hits sent the Mets to the top of the fourth with a 3-2 advantage.
Goldschmidt and José Martinez broke Vargas’ streak with consecutive walks to lead off the fourth. Fowler grounded into what could have been a double play, Vargas to Hechavarria to Alonso, but Hechavarria fumbled the throw from Vargas. The Mets still got their double play one hitter later against Yadier Molina, but Goldschmidt tied the game at 3-3 on the play. Harrison Bader whiffed to end the inning.
Vargas’ day ended in the bottom of the fourth inning when a mysterious ailment befell him after a vicious cut at the plate on a pitch from Hudson’s 1-0 offering. Mets skipper Mickey Callaway opted to finish Vargas’ at-bat with pitcher Jacob deGrom, who earned a walk from Hudson. He was erased on an inning-ending double play, and Wilmer Font took Vargas’ place in the top half of the inning. The Cardinals went down in order against Font.
Obligatory, in honor of Wilmer Font: Akzidenz Grotesk is one of my favorite fonts. Used correctly with the italic and swash forms, Caslon is also quite effective- you may recognize it from many of my graphs for VEB. Din is good, and Archer was awesome for those three years it was trendy. Don’t even get me started on fonts...
Hudson tap-danced around more trouble in the bottom of the fifth, allowing back to back singles with one out before a double play ball ended the inning. Goldschmidt’s walk in the top of the sixth was the only baserunner the Cardinals could muster against Font in the top of the sixth. Goldy’s homerun in the first remained the lone Cardinals hit. Fortunately, Hudson was performing a magic act. He retired the Mets in order in the sixth, finishing his day with 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, and 3 K. In other words, eleven baserunners and just three strikeouts in six innings... but only three runs allowed.
In the top of the seventh, Harrison Bader reached on Hechavarria’s error, but the rally fizzled when Font retired Kolten Wong and Marcell Ozuna. Andrew Miller came on for Hudson and Ahmed Rosario greeted him with a hard line drive to left field, thankfully caught by Jose Martinez. The next batter, Dominic Smith, slapped a single on a belt-high slider out over the plate. Miller then nursed a flyball and a strikeout to end the inning.
DeJong continued to scorch the Mets in the top of the 8th with a solo blast to put the Redbirds ahead, 4-3. DeJong is now 7-for-17 with 3 homeruns since I finished writing this article on Thursday.
PAUL DEJONG HOMERED AGAIN AGAINST THE METS! pic.twitter.com/u4JXVuWVJo— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 16, 2019
Skipper Mike Shildt summoned Carlos Martinez from the bullpen to preserve the lead in the 8th, which El Gallo did with a pair of flyball outs and a strikeout. After a scoreless Cardinals’ ninth, Martinez struck out Jeff McNeil to lead off the inning. Todd Frazier followed with a floater single just past the outstretched glove of Goldschmidt. Martinez extinguished the rally when pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos grounded into a game-ending double play.
The Southern Tier Nitro S’mores Stout Player of the Game is DeJong, whose blast saved the day. Honorable mention goes to Dakota Hudson for essentially pitching the 1984 equivalent of a perfect game, and Carlos Martinez for his 1984-style two inning fireman performance. The Cardinals return home for a four game series against the Marlins beginning Monday at 7:15 CST. Miles Mikolas will take the hill against Elieser Hernandez.
- Scoring based on the author’s beverage:
-Dogfish Head Raison d’Extra: 2-1
-Maine Brewing King Titus: 1-2
-Hardywood Richmond Lager: No score
-Southern Tier Nitro S’mores: 1-0
- Best Movie Dads: Royal Tenenbaum, The Royal Tenenbaums; Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird; Ed Bloom, Big Fish; Jack Torrance, The Shining; Clark Griswold, Vacation; Vito Corleone, The Godfather; Yondu, who raised a Missourian in The Guardians movies; Kenji, Ikiru; Daniel, Mrs. Doubtfire
- Citi Field looks like it’d be an amazing, underrated ballpark if it weren’t infected by the soul-crushing malaise of Mets fandom.
- My wife and I started playing Muppet songs in the seventh inning to start a rally, but it didn’t work- not for Manamana, Rainbow Connection, or Life is a Happy Song from the 2011 movie.
- To paraphrase Mike Shannon, today is Father’s Day, so a big ‘Happy Birthday’ to all you fathers out there!