Game Recap: Allen Craig’s Big Day Deny Mets the Sweep
Terry Collins sent Dillon Gee to the mound for an attempt to do something that the Mets have never done; sweep a four-game set from the St. Louis Cardinals at home in New York. This was yet another spectacular start from a Mets starting pitcher, but for the first time in this series, the Cardinals were the first team to score a run.
Both pitchers held their opposition scoreless through the first three frames of the ball game, and the Cardinals were able to put together a scoring rally in the top of the fourth inning against Dillon Gee. Matt Holliday started things off with a double down the left field line. Yadier Molina grounded out to Daniel Murphy at second base, moving Holliday over to third before Allen Craig singled to right field to bring home the game’s first run. So, being down for the first time in this series, what did the Mets do? Well, they fought back, immediately. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Lucas Dudahit his fourth home run of the home stand (9th on the season), a bomb that went about 10-15 rows back in the Pepsi Porch.
There was no more scoring until the Cardinals came to bat in the seventh inning. It all got started with a lead off walk to Allen Craig, followed by a single off the bat of David Freese. Craig then scored off a Dillon Gee throwing error, giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead. Adron Chambers singled as well, prompting a visit to the mound by Dan Warthen. After the conference, Gee responded by striking out Matt Adams, but Rafael Furcal grounded into a force out, pushing the lead to 3-1. However, Gee was able to minimize the damage by striking out Carlos Beltran, who’s bat was rather quiet in his return to Citi Field.
Once again, the Mets would not go down quietly, as David Wright led off the bottom of the seventh with a single of his own. Then, pinch hitting for Gee, Scott Hairston hit a two-run homer to left field to tie the game back up at three runs each. That finally closed the book on Gee, who went seven innings of six-hit ball, giving up two earned runs while surrendering two walks and striking out eight in the no-decision.
Jon Rauch came in to keep the game tied in the eight, but he wasn’t able to do so as he gave up two hits and two runs, both of the runs coming off the bat of Allen Craig with a two-run homer. Tim Byrdak came in to close out the inning against the lefty, and the Mets were trying to mount a comeback again in the bottom half of the inning. Josh Thole singled up the middle to start things off, followed by a long double to left center field by Kirk Nieuwenhuis to put runners on second and third with one out for Andres Torres. He narrowly missed a three-run home run, but settled for a sacrifice fly. Mike Matheny brought in Jason Motte for the four out save, and after a long battle with David Wright, he got the third baseman to line out Beltran to strand the tying run on third.
Brydak came back in the top of the ninth to face another lefty in Chambers, but he walked him, leading to his exit. Terry Collins brought in Bobby Parnell, who was able to strand the runner, keeping the deficit at 5-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth. The order brought up Duda, Murphy, and pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin, but Motte retired the side in order, capping the game off with two strikeouts in a row. The loss denies the Mets the four-game sweep and sole possession of first place as they fall to 31-24, 0.5 games behind the Nationals and Marlins.
Terry Collins saw yet another solid performance from Dillon Gee as the Mets starting pitchers only gave up two earned runs in this series against the Cardinals, but it was the bullpen that wasn’t able to keep the Cards where they were to allow the offense to take the lead, as Jon Rauch once again who struggled, getting the loss after giving up the game-winning homer to Craig. Offensively, Hairston continues to produce in limited playing time, while Duda continues to find his power stroke. Ike Davis spent another game going hitless, and with more right-handed pitchers coming up in the series against the Nationals, it is all but certain that he will continue to be put into the lineup…yay!
Probable pitchers Tuesday:
The Mets will travel to the nation’s capital for the first time this year to take on the Washington Nationals. Terry Collins has juggled his starting rotation around a little bit in order to give Johan Santana a full week off after his no-hitter last Friday, and Chris Young will make his first start of the season after going through shoulder capsule surgery last year. He will be taking on Nationals’ righty Jordan Zimmerman, who is coming off a start against the Marlins where he cruised for the first five innings, but took the loss after two mistakes in the sixth denied him a victory.