Steven Matz pitched well for the second outing in a row, Paul Goldschmidt is lighting the world on fire, and the Cardinals hung on for a tight win in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
A dropped third strike from Andrew Knizner extended the eighth inning and allowed the Mets to tie the game, but St.Louis scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on a Tyler O’Neill infield single. The Cardinals left 12 runners on base, but despite those missed opportunities were able to eek out a tight one.
Here’s how it went down:
Like game one, the only Cardinal who showed any sign of resistance early was Paul Goldschmidt. Taijuan Walker was able to get Tommy Edman to ground out and he punched out Brendan Donovan, but Goldschmidt broke up the no-hitter with a soft single to right field, beating the shift. Dylan Carlson then flew out to Travis Jankowski in semi-deep right field to end the threat.
After an eight-pitch battle, Brandon Nimmo eventually popped out to Donovan in shallow left field. Mark Canha then worked the count full before depositing a 3-2 sinker that did not sink into the left field seats to make it 1-0 Mets early. His homer left the bat at 97.6 mph and was the fifth homer Matz has given up this season in a two-strike count (through eight starts).
Matz was able to get Francisco Lindor to ground out to Donovan at third, and Pete Alonso flew out to Carlson in shallow right field for the final out of the first inning.
Two struggling Redbirds continued to struggle at the dish in the second inning, as Corey Dickerson led off the second inning with a swinging strikeout (his 11th strikeout vs three walks this season). After striking out three times in the first game of the doubleheader, Tyler O’Neil racked up his fourth punch out of the day for out number two. Edmundo Sosa at least put the ball in play, flying out to Jankowski in right field for the final out.
Matz bounced back in the second inning with a 1-2-3 frame. Eduardo Escobar hit a weak ground ball towards Matz on the mound and he was able to throw out the Mets’ third baseman for the first out of the inning. Jeff McNeil struck out swinging on a high fastball for the second out. J.D. Davis worked the count full before flying out to Harrison Bader in center field for the final out of the second inning.
The St. Louis offense did not wake up in the third inning, as they were retired in order on 14 pitches. Bader flew out to Nimmo in shallow center field. Andrew Knizner — starting for Molina — hit a sharp ground ball to Escobar at third, but he snagged it and threw Knizner out at first. Edman then popped out to Escobar in foul territory for the final out.
Matz danced around a runner in scoring position in the third inning, putting up another zero and keeping the Cardinals within one run. He struck out Jankowski and Tomas Nido looking for the first and second outs of the inning before Nimmo hit a double down the left field line with two outs. He was stranded there, however, as Canha flew out to Bader in center field to end the inning.
The Cardinals broke through against Walker in the fourth inning, but the damage could have (should have) been much greater if not for a few wasted at-bats.
Donovan led off with a sharp single to center field, his third hit of the day (two in the first game of the DH). With Goldschmidt batting and a full count, Donovan was in motion as Goldy smacked a double to the left field wall. Donovan just beat the throw home as he dove in headfirst, tying the game.
Carlson then popped out to Lindor at short, failing to advance the runner. Dickerson stepped up and singled to left field for the Cardinals’ third hit of the inning, but Goldschmidt was held at third with one out and O’Neill coming up. Our dense Canadian friend flailed at a 2-2 splitter and struck out for the fifth time today, failing to drive in Goldschmidt from third. Sosa grounded out to Escobar at third to end the inning, leaving two ducks on the pond.
The Mets got that run back with two outs in the fourth. After a Lindor flyout and Alonso strikeout, Escobar pounded an 0-1 changeup that was well outside the zone into the bullpen in right field, retaking New York’s lead. Escobar’s second homer of the year left the bat at 99.4 mph. McNeil grounded out to Donovan at third for the final out of the fourth inning.
Goldschmidt continued to carry this team on his back in the fifth inning, but what else is new? After Bader popped out to McNeil in shallow center, Knizner looped a single in front of Nimmo with one out. With a runner on first, Edman drove a ball into the right field fence that took a huge bounce and rolled towards center field. Edman was able to turn it into a standup triple, scoring Knizner and making it a 2-2 game.
Donovan then worked a five-pitch walk, setting up Goldschmidt with runners on the corners. Goldy played pepper with the right-center field gap again, hammering a double there to drive in Edman and give St. Louis a 3-2 lead. Donovan was held at third.
Carlson then flew out to Nimmo in shallow center field, and it was not deep enough for Donovan to tag. With two outs, the Mets intentionally walked Dickerson and his .491 OPS, instead opting to face O’Neill with the bases loaded — yes, things have gotten that bad for Tyler. O’Neill worked the count full and then stung a slider from Walker into center field.....directly into the glove of Nimmo. The decision to walk Dickerson paid off, and the Cardinals stranded two with a 3-2 lead.
Walker’s final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s (94 pitches)
Matz gave the Cardinals a big shutdown inning in the fifth after the offense took the lead. He struck out Davis, Jankowski, and Nido in order to keep the lead where it was.
Matz’ final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB’s, 7 K’s (92 pitches)
St. Louis threatened to widen their lead in the sixth inning but once again stranded multiple runners on base with two outs. Right-hander Adonis Medina took over for Walker in the sixth inning.
Sosa flew out to Nimmo in center field for the first out, but Bader beat out a soft grounder to second base for an infield single (originally he was called out, and after the Cardinals challenged, the call was overturned).
With Knizner batting, Bader stole his ninth base of the year to put him in scoring position with one out. Knizner grounded out to Medina for the second out, with Bader advancing to third. Edman was hit by a pitch and promptly stole second (his ninth steal of the year), giving Donovan an opportunity with two runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, Donovan punched out looking to end the inning, stranding both runners.
Andre Pallante jogged in from the bullpen to toe the rubber in the sixth inning. He induced a groundout from Nimmo for the first out before walking three consecutive Mets in Canha, Lindor, and Alonso to load the bases for Escobar, who homered in his previous at-bat. Marmol had seen enough at this point, pulling Pallante in favor of the southpaw Genesis Cabrera. This was an interesting move, as the switch-hitting Escobar hit a home run from the right side in the fourth inning off Matz.
But the move paid of big time, as Cabrera struck out Escobar on three pitches before getting McNeil to pop out in foul territory on the first pitch he saw. He pumped his fist and punched his glove as he walked off the field, stranding all three runners he inherited from Pallante and preserving the Cardinal’s one-run lead.
Medina was able to set down Goldschmidt, Carlson, and Dickerson in order. Goldy flew out on a sharply hit ball to Canha in left field. Carlson and Dickerson both grounded out.
Cabrera returned for the seventh inning. He induced a weak ground ball from Davis that he picked up himself and threw to first, nearly throwing it away. Goldschmidt was able to dig it out for the first out. He then walked the speedy Jankowski on five pitches, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Nido grounded into a force out, with Donovan going to second base to erase the lead runner Jankowski for out number two. Nimmo then grounded out to Sosa at short for the third out for the final out of the inning.
Medina returned for his third inning of work and — wouldn’t you know — the Cardinals stranded their ninth and tenth baserunners of the game. O’Neill kicked off the inning with his sixth strikeout of the day, which very well may be a major-league record, I’m not sure. Sosa then stung a 106 mph line drive right at Lindor, who couldn’t hold on to the spicy meatball, and was awarded a hit. Bader flew out to center field for the second out of the inning. Knizner then hit a ground ball up the middle that Luis Guillorme — who was in for an injured Nimmo — was able to dive out and stop, but was unable to make a throw to either base to record an out.
At this point left-hander Joely Rodriguez took over for Medina with two runners on and two outs. Rodriguez turned Edman around and made him bat right-handed, and was able to induce an inning-ending groundout.
Ryan Helsley and his 0.17 WHIP ran in from the bullpen in the eighth inning. Canha flew out to Bader to lead off the inning, and then Lindor worked a seven-pitch walk. Alonso worked the count full before lining out to O’Neill in left field for the second out of the inning. Escobar struck out swinging to end the inning, but Knizner dropped the third strike and allowed Escobar to reach first — and Lindor to move to second.
McNeil made Knizner and the Cardinals pay for that mistake, lacing a single to left field that scored Lindor and tied the game 3-3 in the eighth inning. It was the first run allowed by Helsley this season, and in all actuality it was not on him, it was on Knizner.
Helsley then got Davis to strike out looking, his fourth out recorded of the inning. Helsley’s WHIP jumped from 0.17 to 0.32.
After falling behind 1-2, Donovan was able to work a walk off Rodriguez to lead off the inning. Goldschmidt flew out to right field for the first out of the ninth. Donovan swiped second base — his first steal in the bigs — and took third a moment later on a passed ball. Rodriguez then walked Carlson to give St. Louis runners in the corners with one out.
With the left-handed Dickerson due up, Marmol pinch-hit Nolan Arenado, who was given the second game of the twin bill off. Buck Showalter countered by bringing in right-hander Adam Ottavino from the ‘pen. Ottavino was able to strike out Arenado with a slider that broke away, eliciting raucous cheers from Mets fans who have not forgotten the incidents that took place in St. Louis weeks ago.
Ottavino then faced O’Neill, who has been in the worst funk of his career. After taking ball one, O’Neill hit a slow chopper to third base that Escobar was unable to make a play on, allowing our favorite Canadian to reach base and the go-ahead run to score. Sosa flew out to center field to end the inning, but the Redbirds took a 4-3 lead.
Marmol called the bullpen and summoned Gallegos, looking for his seventh save of the season. Jankowski hit a squibbler right back to Gallegos for an easy first out. Dominic Smith pinch hit for Nido and walked as the potential tying run, and Guillorme singled to right field, putting the winning run on base as well. Canha — who homered to open the scoring over three hours earlier — struck out swinging to bring the Mets to their final out. Lindor was the Mets’ final hope, but he struck out swinging as well to lock in a doubleheader split in Queens.
Final score: St. Louis 4, New York 3
The Cardinals (20-16) will look to secure at least a series split tomorrow night in Queens. Max Scherzer (4-1, 2.66 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Metropolitans (24-14), and is currently riding a 21-inning scoreless streak against St. Louis dating back to last season. Opposing him will be fireballer Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.15), who set career-highs in innings pitched (5) and pitches (77) last week in St. Louis’ 8-2 loss to the Giants. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.
Around the Central
Reds 5, Guardians 4 - Cleveland’s Nick Sandlin walked in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning.
Cubs 7, Pirates 0 - Cubs prospect Christopher Morel homered in his first career at-bat, clearing the bleachers at Wrigley with ease and almost forgetting to touch first base.
Braves 3, Brewers 0 (TOP 9) - Not complete at time of publish
WARdle #69 - 3/9
Spoiler: It was not Stephen Piscotty today.