Shelby Miller’s no-hit streak lasted only 2 batters tonight, as David Wright chopped a two-out single up the middle (he eventually stole second base), but Miller nonetheless collected three strikeouts in the first inning.
Marcum came out strong in the bottom of the frame. He didn’t get any strikeouts, but needed only eight pitches to retire the Cardinals in order. The second inning was much the same, with a ground out, strikeout, and fly out on 10 more pitches.
The top of the second featured vintage Mets (by which, of course, I mean a series of baffling plays). Lucas Duda lined what would’ve been a base hit up the middle, but it deflected off Miller’s leg who threw him out at first. John Buck then worked a 12 pitch walk, and Rick Ankiel hit a fly ball that somehow fell in for a hit. Ruben Tejada, back in the lineup after a day off, hit a line drive to right center that was played well by John Jay. Buck fell trying to return to second and was doubled off easily to end the threat.
Marcum led off the third inning by lining a single to left center (in an 7-pitch at bat) to collect his first hit as a Met. The Mets got nothing else, as Mike Baxter and Daniel Murphy both flew out prior to David Wright striking out on three pitches.
Daniel Descalso led off the third with the Cardinals’ first hit of the day. Marcum needed 23 pitches to get through the inning, but didn’t allow anything to come of it. Miller would hit John Buck with a pitch in the top of the fourth, but would get out of the inning unscathed when John Buck tried to steal second.
The Cardinals finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth, scoring a run on a John Jay double. David Wright dropped a tag on Jay between second and third to prolong the inning, and Tony Cruz made him pay by singling in the second (unearned) run.
The Mets squandered a chance in the sixth. Daniel Murphy doubled and stole base, but David Wright struck out and Ike Davis grounded to second against reliever Randy Choate.
After Lucas Duda grounded out to start the sixth, Mike Matheny brought in Seth Maness, who allowed a hit to John Buck and Rick Ankiel followed it up with a home run to just-left-of-center field.
With the score tied, Marcum was allowed to hit for himself (he singled) and continue to pitch. He retired the first two batters of the inning before walking Daniel Descalso and giving up a hit to Pete Kozma. Scott Rice came in and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Daniel Descalso to score the tie-breaking run. That at bat ended in an intentional walk to Ty Wigginton and Matt Carpenter then grounded to first to end the inning.
Marcum’s final line: 6.2IP, 5H, 1BB, 3R (2 earned), 3K. His ERA dropped from 8.59 to 6.75 on the day.
LaTroy Hawkins would allow another run in the eighth. The Mets would’ve been out of the inning had Daniel Murphy not airmailed a double-play throw. That said, Hawkins pitched poorly, allowing a hit and two walks in the frame.
Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth to save it for the Cardinals.
- Shaun Marcum looked much better tonight. He was crisp and efficient on the mound, mixing his pitches well and keeping them off the middle of the plate. John Jay’s RBI double was the only well-struck ball Marcum allowed in his 6.2 innings of work. If he can do more of what he did tonight, it will go far toward restoring credibility to the Mets’ rotation.
- Lucas Duda has been terribly unlucky of late. Since he hit first base against the Pirates on Saturday, it seems like every ball he puts in play is hit solidly…right at someone.
- Rick Ankiel collected his first two hits as a Met – a mysterious blooper that eventually fell for a hit in center field, and a game-tying two run homer in the seventh.
- Scott Rice has struggled of late. He’s surrendered 4 ER in his last 2.1 innings (not including the inherited runner he allowed to score tonight). With both Josh Edgin and Robert Carson struggling badly, Rice has been badly overworked. Unfortunately, the Mets won’t have another day off until next Thursday, so he may not get much time off until then.
- John Buck reached base three times today, via a walk, hit-by-pitch, and a single to left field.
The Mets badly needed a good game out of Shaun Marcum, who had yet to give one. He certainly obliged though. He only had one hard-hit ball (the double by Jay) and didn’t walk a batter until the seventh inning. Scott Rice allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch.
This is a game the Mets gave away. David Wright and Scott Rice each handed the Cardinals a run (on a dropped tag and wild pitch, respectively). Daniel Murphy’s eighth inning error also proved costly, allowing an insurance run to score. Shaun Marcum deserved better, but when things are going wrong they find new ways to go wrong.
The Mets will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon, as Jonathon Niese pitches against Adam Wainwright. First pitch is scheduled for 1:45PM.