The Cardinals started a four-game series with the New York Mets in St. Louis on Monday night, looking to extend their four-game winning streak. Adam Wainwright got the start against Joey Lucchesi, and while both pitchers got roughed up early in the game (the head-scratching intentional walk to load the bases in the second certainly didn’t help Wainwright), Wainwright managed to settle in and pitch five and two-thirds. Conversely, Lucchesi was run out of the game in the third inning as the Cards’ offense put up six runs, five of which came in that third frame.
Jeff McNeil led off the game for the Mets and grounded an 0-2 sinker to Paul Goldschmidt, who took it to first himself for the first out. Francisco Lindor struck out swinging, way in front of a Wainwright curveball. Michael Conforto popped out to Tyler O’Neill in left, putting the Mets down in order to start the game.
Tommy Edman started the bottom of the first for the Redbirds, smashing a ball to right field. Conforto had trouble picking up the fly ball and it got over his head, good for an Edman triple. Dylan Carlson followed and flew a sinker deep to right, scoring Edman on the sacrifice fly to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.
Goldschmidt walked on five pitches, bringing up Nolan Arenado with a runner on and one away. Arenado grounded back up the middle to McNeil, who flipped to Lindor to kick off an impressive double play to end the inning.
Pete Alonso popped a flyball down the first baseline for a leadoff double to right field. Dominic Smith followed with a strikeout looking at a sinker on the inside corner, which also was Wainwright’s 1,000th strikeout at Busch Stadium. Kevin Pillar hit a single to left-center and moved Alonso to third, but Harrison Bader’s throw missed the cut-off man, allowing Pillar to advance to second on the throw. Jonathan Villar received an intentional walk to load the bases, after which Wainwright hit Tomas Nido with the first pitch of the plate appearance to bring in a run and tie the game at 1-1. Lucchesi struck out swinging at a 2-2 curveball for the second out. McNeil worked a full count before walking on a sinker that missed low, walking in another Mets run to give them a 2-1 lead. Lindor received a steady diet of curveballs from Wainwright and swung over the last one he saw for the third out.
Paul DeJong tomahawked a 3-2 pitch above the zone, resulting in a popout to Nido in foul territory to start off the bottom of the inning. O’Neill grounded a 2-2 sinker to third for the second out. Bader got ahead 3-1 in the count and absolutely belted a cutter up in the zone over the left field bullpen for a solo shot, tying the game again at 2-2. Knizner ended the inning with a swinging strikeout, waving at a 2-2 curveball.
Conforto led off the third for the Mets and walked on a full count. Alonso doubled to left-center on a cutter low and away, placing runners on second and third with no outs. Smith grounded out to first, scoring Conforto to give the Mets a 3-2 lead and advancing Alonso to third. Pillar then hit a four-seamer up in the zone on the outside corner for a home run to dead center, putting the Mets up 5-2. Villar flew the first pitch of his at-bat to deep left where O’Neill caught it for the second out. Nido grounded into the shift to retire the Mets’ side of the inning.
Wainwright grounded out to third on an 0-2 curveball to begin the Cardinals’ half of the third. Edman popped a flare into shallow right where it was caught for the second out. Carlson took a 2-2 sinker the other way for a base hit to extend the inning. Goldschmidt hit a flare to center field off the end of the bat. Pillar dove in an attempt to make the catch but only managed to knock the ball down. Carlson advanced to third on the hit, putting runners at the corners with two outs for Arenado. Arenado fouled off a number of tough pitches (including one that he may or may not have actually made contact with) before flying a 1-2 sinker into the left field seats for a three-run homer, tying the game up for the third time at 5-5.
DeJong continued his career vendetta against the Mets, doubling off the right-center wall to continue the inning. O’Neill pulled a pitch that was low on the outside corner into left-center and beat the throw to second for another double. DeJong scored on the play, giving the Cards a 6-5 lead and knocking Lucchesi out of the game. Robert Gsellman relaced Lucchesi and got Bader to pop out to right in foul territory to end the Cards’ big inning.
Gsellman led off the fourth inning and struck out looking at a 2-2 cutter from Wainwright. McNeil singled to Arenado on the shift, who barehanded the grounder and nearly got the out on the throw. Lindor then popped out on an 0-1 cutter to shallow left for the second out. Conforto grounded a 1-2 cutter back up the middle where DeJong made a diving stop and threw to first to bring the top of the inning to a close.
Knizner started the bottom of the inning and got jammed on a 2-2 sinker for a fly out to shallow center. Wainwright struck out on three pitches, swinging over a slider, and Edman grounded out to first on a 3-2 sinker to end the inning.
Alonso grounded softly through the gap between third and short for his third hit of the evening. Smith followed with a flyout to Bader on an 0-1 changeup. Pillar retired the Mets’ side, grounding an 0-2 sinker to Edman for a 4-6-3 double play.
Carlson jumped on the first pitch in the bottom of the fifth and flew out to right. Goldschmidt hit a screamer right back at Gsellman who barely ducked it, allowing McNeil to field it for the second out. Arenado hit another hard line drive to third, but it went straight at Villar to put the Cards down in order in the fifth.
Villar flew out to center on a 2-2 curveball. Nido followed with a first-pitch base hit, also to center field. Albert Almora, Jr. pinch-hit for Gsellman, flying out to right field and falling to 0 for 11 on his career against Wainwright. The Mets returned to the top of their order and Wainwright was pulled for Genesis Cabrera. McNeil walked on five pitches to put two on with two away for the Mets, but Lindor grounded out to second on a 3-1 changeup to end the Mets’ threat.
Sean Reid-Foley got the call to pitch the sixth for the Mets and gave up a base hit to DeJong. O’Neill followed and struck out looking at a breaking pitch that caught the top of the zone. Bader grounded to Villar at third, who initiated a quick 5-4-3 double play to bring the Cards’ half of the inning to a close.
Cabrera returned to pitch the seventh for the Redbirds and struck out Conforto with a 98 mph fastball. Alonso followed with a flyout to left-center on a 2-1 changeup and Smith walked, after which Ryan Helsley was called in to finish the inning. Pillar broke his bat on a four-seamer and flew out softly to Edman to send the game to the bottom of the seventh.
Reid-Foley continued to work in the seventh for the Mets and got Knizner to strike out looking on a breaking ball off the plate. Matt Carpenter pinch-hit for Helsley and flew out deep to center field for a loud second out. Edman got a hold of a first-pitch slider for a double down the third baseline. Carlson struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball, stranding Edman at second.
Geovanny Gallegos pitched the eighth for the Cards and got Villar to fly out to center on a 3-2 slider. Nido then struck out swinging at another 2-2 slider. Jose Peraza pinch-hit for Reid-Foley and popped out to Edman on yet another slider from Gallegos for the final out.
Jacob Barnes pitched the bottom of the eighth for New York and Goldschmidt grounded out to first on a 1-2 cutter. Barnes then pitched around Arenado and walked him on four pitches. DeJong worked a full count and flew a fastball to right for the second out. O’Neill saw seven pitches before grounding a fastball to Lindor to send the game to the ninth.
Alex Reyes came in for the save attempt for the Cardinals and got McNeil to pop out on a first-pitch sinker. Lindor walked to bring up Conforto, who flew out to Bader on a 1-1 slider. Alonso fell behind 0-1 in the count and the lights went out for about fifteen seconds as Reyes was about to throw (shoutout to cardinalsgifs for capturing the moment).
When the liiiiiights— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) May 4, 2021
in the citttttty pic.twitter.com/cUkAcp0l3R
Alonso took the next four pitches for balls and a walk, bringing in Smith with two on and two away. Smith worked the count full, setting the runners off on the pitch, and flew out to O’Neill to end both the Mets’ threat and the game.
The Cardinals move up to 17-12 on the season with the win, good enough to tie the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. The Mets fell to 11-12 with the loss. The Cards’ lineup will have a tall order for Tuesday night’s game, as they’ll face Jacob deGrom in the second game of the series. The Cardinals’ Johan Oviedo is slated to start the game, which is scheduled for 6:45 PM CT.
The Cardinals made some roster moves on Monday. Wainwright was activated to start Monday’s game, optioning Austin Dean to AAA to make room for the move.
Lots of news on the injury front, with some being more impactful than others. Jordan Hicks is expected to head to the IL to make room for Johan Oviedo on the roster. Yadier Molina is going to be re-evaluated later this week, but as of yet hasn’t participated in any baseball activities. Miles Mikolas is scheduled to make a rehab start on Wednesday for Memphis and Mozeliak has said he’ll need three or four starts before returning to the MLB staff. John Nogowski will also be making at least one rehab start later this week. Daniel Ponce de Leon is still dealing with shoulder inflammation but imaging showed that he doesn’t have any structural damage. Andrew Miller is apparently dealing with a toe blister that is affecting his landing foot and is waiting for that to pass before resuming any baseball activities. (Credit to Zachary Silver at cardinals.com and Rick Hummel at stltoday.com).
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright (W, 1-3): 5.2 IP / 7 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / 1 HR
Cabrera (H, 5): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Helsley (H, 1): 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Gallegos (H, 5): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Reyes (S, 8): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Lucchesi (L, 0-2): 2.2 IP / 7 H / 6 R / 6 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 2 HR
Gsellman: 2.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Reid-Foley: 2 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Barnes: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR