On a day when the threat of rain nearly cancelled the final game of a three game series between the Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, both teams sent out their respective aces in Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright. A game that was billed to be a great pitcher’s duel lived up to expectations as both starters brought their best stuff to the hill this afternoon.
Harvey took the ball in the first inning and was completely lights out. After Matt Carpenter flied out to Lucas Duda in left, Harvey blew away both Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday with strikeouts and it was the Mets turn to bat against Wainwright.
A pitcher that still makes Met fans cringe after nearly seven years, made the Mets bats look even worse than they have been of late. The Cardinals’ ace mowed through the Mets top of the order by inducing two groundouts from Jordany Valdespin and Omar Quintanilla and striking out David Wright on a devastating curevball.
The next inning again so no action on the bases for either side, as Harvey induced three groundouts from the Cardinals and Wainwright got Daniel Murphy to flyout and then went on to strikeout Marlon Byrd and Duda.
The Cardinals finally got the first runner of the game on base in the third inning with a one-out single by Pete Kozma who was eventually advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Wainwright. On a hanging breaking pitch, maybe the only one Harvey had all game long, Matt Carpenter laced a hit to right which appeared to at first only be a single, but Byrd dove and missed it and a possible single was played into a triple. Although Carpenter got to third, Harvey stranded him there, as he struck out Beltran for the second time of day.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the third inning as Wainwright continued to be on top of his game, something he hasn’t done much against the Mets since becoming a full-time starting pitcher.
After another strong inning by Harvey, the Mets had a good two-out rally started with a single by Wright. Murphy followed with a walk which set up a golden opportunity for Duda. Lucas hit a shot to deep right-center field, which at first seemed to be enough to get out, but Jon Jay tracked it down to the fence and made the catch, inches away from the wall and the score still remained 1-0.
Despite the Mets nearly getting to Wainwright in the fourth, they did not get many other chances against the tall right hander after that, as in the next two innings the Mets only had two hits, a single in the fifth by John Buck and a single in the sixth by Wright but nothing came of the small chances.
Harvey continued to dominate and in the seventh got the Cardinals out 1-2-3, and looked primed to go out for the eighth inning. However as the bottom of the seventh unfolded, Mike Matheny made sure Harvey would not go out for another inning. Marlon Byrd singled to right and advanced to second on a slow groundout by Buck to third. Matheny went against all baseball unwritten rules by walking Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and putting the lead runner on base. However it forced the Mets to bring up a pinch hitter in Justin Turner. Turner promptly grounded out to third base on a similar play to the one where Buck hit earlier in the inning.
Scott Rice came in for the eighth and got two outs, one coming as he picked off Matt Carpenter, who was eventually thrown out by Daniel Murphy as he was going to second, so technically on a caught stealing if you’re keeping score at home. Beltran singled to left and Collins decided to switch to LaTroy Hawkins as a right hander in Matt Holliday was coming up. The move did not pay off as Holliday singled to right and moved Beltran to third. The hit was followed by a run-scoring single by Allen Craig. Yadier Molina popped out to end the inning, but with a 2-0 lead in hand, the Cardinal lead seemed insurmountable.
Despite a two-out single by David Wright, the Mets could not cash him in, as Murphy went down on strikes.
Recently recalled Josh Edgin came on in the ninth and looked strong recording a strikeout in his one scoreless inning of work.
In the bottom of the ninth with the Mets down two runs, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica came in looking for his 19th save in as many opportunities. With one out in the inning the Mets finally got on the board with a solo homer off the bat off of Byrd to deep left field, which was good enough for his 10th homer run of the year.
John Buck followed with a double down the right field line which Beltran showed little urgency getting to, and Mets had the tying runner on with one out. Collin Cowgill ran for Buck as Nieuwenhuis stepped up to the plate. Kirk ripped one up the middle but Matt Carpenter made a diving stop, and got the out at first, also holding Cowgill at third. Josh Satin came up as a pinch hitter and after a tough at-bat, struck out swinging to end the game.
> Matt Harvey was handed his first loss of the year, but was again superb on the mound. The Mets ace went seven innings, allowed five hits, one run and struck out seven. Harvey was again the victim of a lack of hitting.
> David Wright recorded three hits, which gave him five in the series. The Mets as a team only had four other hits in the game.
> Marlon Byrd continues to surprise offensively, as he added two more hits and hit his second home run in as many days.
> The Mets left nine runners on base and continued to struggle with RISP, and failed to record a hit in four chances this afternoon.
Another hard-luck game for Harvey as he pitched almost at the top of his game and failed to get a win. It seems as of late the Mets just can’t hit for him any time he takes the mound. The young ace definitely deserves more from his team, and hopefully soon will get some wins.
This Mets dropped their fourth series in a row since sweeping the Yankees and have only won two games since that time. To be fair the Cardinals are one the best teams in baseball this season, and have only lost one road series all season, coming all the way back during the first week of the season against the Diamondbacks.
The Mets will welcome the struggling Chicago Cubs in this weekend. This is will be the final three games between the two squads as the Mets took two out of three from Chicago earlier in the year. Tomorrow night will see Shaun Marcum face off against Edwin Jackson. Marcum is 0-7 and is still seeking his first win as a Met.