In a game the Mets absolutely had to have to keep their fading playoff hopes alive, they got big performances from a couple of unlikely heroes. Seth Lugo and Alejandro De Aza kept the Mets above water tonight.
Lugo made his second strong start in a row before leaving after the fifth inning with a calf cramp. De Aza contributed a home run and five RBI, as well as setting the tone for this game in the first inning. After the Mets squandered a Jose Reyes single leading off the game, Matt Carpenter led off for the Cards by smoking a 3-2 pitch to dead center field. From the sound and the trajectory, it had “HR” tattooed on it, but De Aza raced back and plucked the ball out of the air right at the top of the fence. From there, Lugo settled in and the Mets piled on. They scored on a James Loney single, a Curtis Granderson line-hugging double to right and a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly off Cardinals’ starter and Mets’ all-time villain Adam Wainwright. In the fourth, Granderson reached on an error, Flores doubled and De Aza chased them both home with a single. In the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes drew a walk, Loney singled, Flores reached on another Cardinal error and De Aza put one in the right field seats and suddenly, the Mets led 7-0. For his part, Lugo was looking pretty fine. He dodged some trouble in the second, but after that, it was smooth sailing until his leg tightened up during his sixth inning warm-ups. His final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 R.
So it was left to the bullpen to close this one out and they were just able to do it. Jim Henderson pitched the sixth inning and was greeted by an immediate two run homer by Brandon Moss. Jerry Blevins pitched a relatively clean seventh, despite nearly having had his head taken off by a Carpenter line drive with two outs. The Mets tacked on a run in the eighth when De Aza walked, Rene Rivera doubled and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a single. The bullpen follies continued when Josh Smoker entered the eighth and gave up another homer to Moss, a single to Stephen Piscotty and Alberto Rosario reached on an infield bobble by Flores. Addison Reed came in and got an out, gave up an infield hit to Randal Grichuk to load the bases and got Greg Garcia to ground into an RBI force, and suddenly this game was a less-comfortable 8-4. The Mets, though, added two in the ninth on singles by Loney, Flores and Rivera. Of course, this game would not be complete without the newly-arrived Sean Gilmartin surrendering home runs to Jedd Gyorko and Piscotty, just to spice things up a little.
For all the clamoring Met fans have done on the subject, for one night we’re all very glad Alejandro De Aza was not DFAd.
The Mets return home to phace the Phillies with their post-season hopes still very much alive.