Mets Top 10 Wins of 2016, #5 – August 23 against Cardinals
Entering the night 4 1/2 games back of the Cardinals in the Wild Card race, it all started with Jose Reyes, who took a walk to lead off the game. Cabrera knocked him a base over with a single, but Cespedes unfortunately popped up to second base. Up came Wilmer Flores, who was batting cleanup this evening with the LHP Jaime Garcia starting. On the first pitch, the Mets immediately did something.
Two pitches later, however, the double steal was rendered moot.
After Jay Bruce naturally struck out, T.J. Rivera grounded out and it was up to LHP Jon Niese to take advantage of the 3-0 edge the Mets had given him early.
He couldn’t. Niese had been having knee problems leading up to the start, and there was some question as to whether he could even start the game. He did end up doing so, though they had called RHP Robert Gsellman for insurance. They would end up needing him quickly.
Niese walked the first batter, before a lineout to Yoenis Cespedes. It got out there in a hurry and Yo, on a bum quad, needed to adjust in a hurry. It seemed he might have tweaked it, but he stayed in the game. At this point, the Mets and their fans were so on edge because of the obscene amount of injuries that had been relegated to the 2016 Mets, no way we wouldn’t be freaking out.
After that scorcher of an out, Niese walked another one then Brandon Moss scored one on a single. He seemed to tweak something backing up the plate, and Ray Ramirez made his familiar walk back to the dugout with Mets players.
Gsellman took all the time he needed to warm up. Unfortunately they pounced on him, as one of our favorites, Yadier Molina, then doubled, scoring the Cardinals’ second run. They tied it on a groundout, but at least it moved us closer to the end of the frame. Gsellmen got that third out, and never looked back.
The Mets went to work on gaining back the lead in the top of the second. Though Justin Ruggiano struck out, Travis d’Arnaud singled. Gsellman, in his first major league at bat, got the sac bunt down. Jose Reyes was up next.
Asdrubal Cabrera, ever so hot since returning from the DL, kept it going.
Now it was time for Gsellman to settle in. The second inning was clean and the third inning he was able to work around a two out walk and single.
Justin Ruggiano led off the fourth and hit one all the way to the arch.
Gsellman was brilliant, getting the Mets through the 4th with a 6-3 lead. Josh Smoker entered, having stepped up in more high leverage opportunities as of late. Besides solo shot to lead off St. Louis’s sixth, he perfectly bridged the gap to LHP Jerry Blevins, RHP Jim Henderson, RHP Addison Reed, and then, of course, RHP Jeurys Familia.
Desperate for an insurance run in the top of the 9th, it was once more Jose Reyes getting things going with a one out single. Though Cabrera struck out swinging, Reyes had moved over on a wild pitch from RHP Sam Tuivailala. Yo sent him over to third with a sharp single. That brought up James Loney, who found himself in an 0-2 hole.
Big time run producing by the Mets, and a breeze for Familia in the ninth.
The Mets took the opening game of a crucial series, moved to 63-62 and moved 3 1/2 back in the Wild Card chase.