Today’s game was certainly an emotional roller coaster. The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead thanks to Nolan Arenado’s two-run bomb in the first, but Matthew Liberatore had a clunker and couldn’t make those runs stand up.
Paul Goldschmidt drove in a pair with a double while Brendan Donovan brought one in with a single. Paul DeJong and Jordan Walker also provided some power. What was left of their early lead was washed away by former Cardinal Tommy Pham’s two-run shot against Chris Stratton.
From there, it was a battle of the bullpens. And in the ninth, the Mets bullpen blinked first when Arenado took another former Cardinal deep in Adam Ottavino.
Jordan Hicks made things a little interesting, but got a double play to secure an 8-7 win for the Birds and their first series victory since late May against the Dodgers.
Here are some takeaways from today’s important Father’s Day win.
Solid work from the pen
The bullpen really deserves a ton of credit for what they did today.
Andre Pallante did a nice job cleaning up his own mess in the bottom of the sixth to keep the game tied. He hasn’t been quite as steady this year, but it’s always an encouraging sign to see him work out of trouble in high-leverage spots.
Drew VerHagen came in and did a masterful job, recording two outs in the seventh and throwing a scoreless eighth. I haven’t been terribly impressed with VerHagen this year, but he I sure was today. He was quick and efficient and kept the Mets at bay.
The Cardinals and Mets both flexed their power muscles this afternoon. Nolan Arenado hit two bombs, one in the first and another in the ninth to put the Cards back in the lead.
But the ball was flying out of Citi Field today. After Arenado’s first homer, Francisco Lindor responded with one in the bottom of the first to make it 2-1. After Donovan and Goldschmidt’s hits made it 5-1, the Mets continued to press and came to within a run.
But that’s when Paul DeJong and Jordan Walker stepped up and hit two homers. Though the lead was ultimately erased on Pham’s home runs, I must say that it’s good to see Walker driving the ball more. I stand by my statement that he should have never been demoted in the first place, but it’s clear that he had the right attitude about it and learned a lot.
Finally, Arenado hit his go-ahead bomb in the ninth to seal the deal.
A series win... finally
It’s been almost exactly a month, but the Cardinals finally found a way to win a series. The record is still 29-43 and they remain 8.5 games out of first. But that deficit, while sizable, is not insurmountable, especially given the trajectory of this division. More on that another time.
But even with the record being as bad as it is, the Cardinals took care of business today, and a series win could be a huge confidence builder. I mentioned this earlier today in my blog post, but if the A’s can pull off seven straight wins with almost nothing, who’s to say the Cardinals can’t get something going with the talent they have on the roster?
All it took to get things going the first time was a series win against the Cubs. After that, the Cardinals swept the Red Sox and defeated both the Brewers and Dodgers. The Mets also have a ton of talent on their roster despite their bad record, so beating a tough team on the road is pretty important.
The Cardinals finally don’t have the worst record in the National League, and we’ll all hope it stays that way. Next up, the Cardinals have the Nationals for three before heading to London. Happy Father’s Day everybody.