New York Mets: Carlos Martinez

Rapid Reaction: Cards 6, Mets 2

June, 16, 2014
6/16/14
11:02
PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- So how about Team USA’s dramatic World Cup victory against Ghana?

The St. Louis Cardinals knocked out Jacob deGrom in the fifth inning and handed the New York Mets a 6-2 defeat in Monday’s series opener at Busch Stadium before a sellout crowd announced at 42,808.

The Mets have now lost 10 of their past 13. They are 13-29 in St. Louis since 2001.

Still searching: DeGrom struck out Matt Carpenter to begin the bottom of the fifth. The rookie did not record another out. The next six St. Louis batters reached before Terry Collins pulled deGrom with the Mets trailing 6-1 and two on base. The damage in the four-run frame included an RBI single by Matt Holliday, who produced his 1,000th career RBI.


Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsTerry Collins approaches the mound to retrieve Jacob deGrom after six straight Cardinals batters reached with one out in the fifth.


DeGrom remained winless through seven major league starts. His ERA climbed to 4.39 after the 91-pitch effort, which included surrendering 12 hits.

He’s back: Left fielder Eric Young Jr. had an uneven return from the disabled list. He threw out Allen Craig attempting to score from second on Yadier Molina's single to end the third inning and hold the Mets’ deficit at 2-1 at the time. A half inning later, though, Young struck out against Carlos Martinez to strand the bases loaded.

The Mets had placed two in scoring position with none out in that frame but failed to score. The Amazin’s are now hitting .157 (11-for-70) with the bases loaded this season.

Young was credited with an infield single in his first at-bat after a scoring change on a would-be error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Young finished 1-for-4 as a result.

What reprieve? The flamethrower Martinez, subbing for Adam Wainwright (elbow), limited the Mets to one unearned run in four innings before reaching his pitch count and departing the spot start. Left-hander Nick Greenwood, making his major league debut, took over and held the Mets hitless until Daniel Murphy and David Wright had consecutive one-out singles in the eighth.

Eighth wondering: Batting the pitcher eighth had mixed results before deGrom departed.

It worked out in the second inning, when No. 7 hitter Ruben Tejada had a leadoff walk, deGrom bunted him to second and, after Peralta’s error, Curtis Granderson supplied a sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, however, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was enticed to intentionally walk Tejada with first base open to load the bases for deGrom with one out. DeGrom had a hard-hit lineout to second base. Young then struck out to strand the bases loaded.

Oh, captain: Wright finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. He is now three for his last 43.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54 ERA) opposes right-hander Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88) at 8:15 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

June, 16, 2014
6/16/14
9:00
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are scheduled to face Cardinals right-handers Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn at Busch Stadium.
METS (31-38, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (37-32, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-3, 3.44) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.67), 8:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Adam Wainwright, originally scheduled to start Monday, will have his turn skipped because of tendinitis in the back of his pitching elbow. Carlos Martinez, whose fastball has averaged 97.1 mph out of the bullpen this season, will make his second career major league start in Wainwright’s place. St. Louis opted to use the 22-year-old Martinez rather than move up the other pitchers and have Michael Wacha pitch in the series opener on standard rest.

• The Cardinals promoted left-handed reliever Nick Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday and demoted outfielder Randal Grichuk (.136). St. Louis is now carrying 13 pitchers and a four-man bench with Wainwright active but skipping a start. Greenwood could relieve Martinez in the middle innings, since Martinez likely will be capped between 50 and 60 pitches with his shift from a bullpen role.


Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesMatt Adams has homered in each of his first three games since returning from the disabled list.


• St. Louis pitchers tossed 30 straight scoreless innings and three straight shutouts last week, at Toronto and Tampa Bay. The Cardinals have blanked their opponents 14 times this season. The Texas Rangers rank second with 13 shutouts, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays with nine. The Mets have blanked their opponents five times.

• First baseman Matt Adams has returned from the disabled list with a bang after missing 13 games due to a calf injury. Adams has homered in each of his first three games upon reentering the lineup. The good news: All three weekend long balls came with his father, Jamie, in attendance at Busch Stadium. The elder Adams has now headed home. The first two homers provided the winning margin en route to a weekend sweep against the Washington Nationals.

• Rookie right fielder Oscar Taveras, who had hit only .189 with one homer in 37 at-bats, was demoted to clear the roster spot for Adams. Allen Craig, who had manned first base in Adams’ absence, has returned to right field. Taveras is ranked as the top prospect in the organization.

Matt Holliday is one RBI shy of 1,000 for his career. He has reached base safely in each of the first 31 Cardinals home games this season.

• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53 million deal with St. Louis, is hitting .232 with a team-leading 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 241 at-bats.

• St. Louis is 18-2 against the National League East at Busch Stadium over the past two seasons. The Cardinals have outscored those opponents 89-43 during that span.

Yadier Molina leads NL All-Star balloting at catcher with 2,003,557 votes. San Francisco’s Buster Posey ranks second at 1,414,363.

• Center fielder Peter Bourjos is 0-for-his-last-10 and is now hitting .209. The righty-hitting Bourjos shares playing time with lefty-hitting Jon Jay. Bourjos was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in November with Grichuk for David Freese and Fernando Salas.

• Second baseman Kolten Wong was the NL Rookie of the Month for May, but is 1-for-his-last-18.

• Jay is 11-for-26 against left-handed pitching this season.

• Third baseman Matt Carpenter is the only Cardinal to appear in all 69 games.

Morning Briefing: A reprieve at Busch?

June, 16, 2014
6/16/14
5:30
AM ET

Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesThe Mets won't be facing the real hook from hell -- Adam Wainwright's -- on Monday.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets get a reprieve Monday when they open a series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Maybe.

Adam Wainwright, the originally scheduled starter, will have his turn skipped because of tendinitis in the back of his pitching elbow. Right-hander Carlos Martinez and his 97 mph fastball instead will make his second career major league start in the opener.

“We’re not going to get Wainwright, although Martinez isn’t a party,” Terry Collins said.

Jacob deGrom makes his seventh major league start, still in search of his first victory.

In Port St. Lucie, Fla., Dillon Gee is due to throw off the slope of a mound Monday for the first time since landing on the disabled list. He could be in a rehab game early next week.

Monday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka had to depart after one inning with intense stomach pain, but Carlos Torres stepped up to toss four innings as the Mets won Sunday’s rubber game against the San Diego Padres, 3-1, at Citi Field. Vic Black and Jenrry Mejia added two scoreless innings apiece. Mejia’s appearance marked his first action since getting pulled from Thursday’s game with lower-back discomfort. Curtis Granderson, batting leadoff for the first time this season, homered and finished 2-for-3 with two walks after being out of the starting lineup the previous three games with a left-calf injury.


Kathy Willens/Associated PressBig contributors Jenrry Mejia and Curtis Granderson celebrate Sunday's win.


“I just tried to get myself on base and try to get the team going,” Granderson told reporters. “I’ve done it plenty of times in my career. I just didn’t know it was going to be today.”

Still, Collins lamented wasted chances, including leaving baserunners on second and third in a two-run first inning despite having them in scoring position with none out.

“We had opportunities to blow this game open, and we’ve got to start blowing some games open, because it’s going to take a lot of pressure off a lot of people,” Collins said.

Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

This could have been the ugliest of Father’s Days for the Mets, who badly needed a victory to close out their homestand at 3-3 after losing nine of their previous 11 games. Instead, they hit their gross-out apex when starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka puked up his breakfast in the bullpen and responded to the crisis when the right-hander checked out after just one inning.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record, Times and at MLB.com.

• On batting Granderson leadoff, columnist David Lennon in Newsday writes:

Terry Collins first brought up the idea of hitting leadoff to Curtis Granderson on the dugout bench during Saturday's embarrassing two-hit loss to the Padres. The manager described the chat as a conversation, a way to gauge Granderson's feelings on the subject, "to see if he had any problems" with the assignment.

In other words, a cry for help.

Collins basically told Granderson he had no one else. To which we say, "What the heck took you so long, Terry?"

• The Mets completed their trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, acquiring left-hander Blake Taylor as the player to be named in the April 18 deal for Ike Davis. Taylor was drafted out of high school by the Pirates in the second round in 2013. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Eric Young Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk and played seven innings in left field for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday in what appeared to be his final rehab game. Collins said he expected E.Y. Jr. (hamstring) to rejoin the Mets on Monday. “I feel ready to go and help out the big club,” he told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin’s Lynn Worthy (tweet). Read more in the Post.

Rafael Montero has been diagnosed with a left-oblique strain. He left Saturday’s start for Triple-A Las Vegas after five pitches. Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard, who injured his left shoulder in a June 5 collision while covering the plate on a wild pitch, is due to return from the disabled list to start Monday’s game for the 51s. He will be capped at about 75 pitches.

• First-round pick Michael Conforto is “getting close” to being officially signed, an insider told ESPNNewYork.com.

David Wright leads for the second straight week in NL All-Star balloting at third base, but old voting nemesis Pablo Sandoval is making a charge. Read more at MLB.com.

• Jeff Roberts in the Record profiles the relationship between Wright and his father Rhon, a retired Norfolk, Va., assistant police chief. "He lost all his credibility with me in baseball when he started playing me in the outfield in Little League," Wright quipped to Roberts.

Travis d’Arnaud homered for the fifth time in a week in the Pacific Coast League, but Las Vegas lost to Oklahoma City, 13-9. Brooklyn split a doubleheader with Staten Island as heralded Casey Meisner and Marcos Molina made their Cyclones debuts as the starting pitchers. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever Calvin Schiraldi turns 52.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Curtis Granderson remain the leadoff hitter?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Padres 1

June, 15, 2014
6/15/14
4:29
PM ET
NEW YORK -- For a day, all was right with the New York Mets. Well, except for Daisuke Matsuzaka's stomach.

Carlos Torres picked up the ailing Matsuzaka by logging four relief innings and Curtis Granderson homered in his return to the starting lineup, as the Mets won the rubber game against the San Diego Padres, 3-1, on Father’s Day at Citi Field before an announced crowd of 38,987.

Welcome back: In his first action since getting pulled from Thursday’s game with lower-back stiffness, Jenrry Mejia delivered a six-out save. He retired all six batters he faced en route to his seventh save of the season. Mejia also had a two-inning save against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 27.

Uneasy feeling: Matsuzaka received a visit from trainer Ray Ramirez during the first inning and was pulled after completing the 17-pitch, scoreless frame that included two walks. He was suffering from a “severe upset stomach,” the team announced.


Kathy Willens/Associated PressDaisuke Matsuzaka, dealing with a severely upset stomach, gets a first-inning mound visit from Terry Collins and the team's trainer.


It marked the shortest start by a Met since Jeremy Hefner surrendered seven runs and did not record an out against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on Sept. 20, 2012.

Working overtime: Torres had no reason to beat himself up Sunday. He replaced Matsuzaka and limited San Diego to one run in a 63-pitch effort spanning four innings. The workload was substantially more than his previous season-high -- 38 pitches on Thursday, in the extra-inning meltdown against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Torres allowed three straight singles to begin Sunday’s appearance, including a run-scoring infield single by Rene Rivera. He then stranded two in scoring position and kept the Padres off the scoreboard for the remainder of his appearance.

Torres departed with a 3-1 lead after five innings.

He had surrendered four runs in the 13th inning against the Brewers in his previous appearance, prompting him to punch himself repeatedly in the head in the dugout in frustration afterward.

Torres has been a workhorse. His 44 2/3 innings this season are the most in the major leagues in a relief role, leapfrogging Oakland’s Dan Otero (41 1/3). Torres is on pace to pitch 105 relief innings.

Vic Black overcame two walks to begin his appearance and added two scoreless innings, despite a pair of defensive adventures from shortstop Wilmer Flores behind him in the seventh inning.

Grandish return: Batting in the leadoff spot for the first time as a Met, Granderson produced a home run to open the bottom of the first inning against Ian Kennedy. It was the 25th leadoff homer of Granderson’s career, and his first since Sept. 27, 2009 with the Detroit Tigers. It was the first by a Met this season.

Granderson (2-for-3, two walks) had missed three straight starts with a left calf injury.

Bobby Abreu added an RBI double in the two-run first.

Slumping: David Wright went 0-for-3 with a walk, including flying out to right field to end the sixth inning, leaving the bases loaded. He is 2-for-39 in his past 12 games.

Big fans: After Chris Young started in left field Saturday and went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, Andrew Brown started there Sunday and went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts before being replaced by Eric Campbell on a double-switch when Black entered for the sixth inning.

What’s next: The Mets travel to St. Louis for a three-game series. Jacob deGrom (0-3, 3.44 ERA), still searching for his first major league win, opposes right-hander Carlos Martinez in an 8:10 p.m. ET game Monday at Busch Stadium. Martinez (0-3, 4.67) takes the spot start for Adam Wainwright, who is being skipped because of a tender elbow.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cards

April, 21, 2014
4/21/14
8:45
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressTyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to face the Mets on Monday at Citi Field.
METS (9-9, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (11-8, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (2-0, 3.32 at Triple-A), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Left-hander Tyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to start Monday’s game against the Mets. Lyons, 26, replaces Joe Kelly, who landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, which he injured running to first base after hitting a groundball.

Kelly’s absence likely will be short term. Otherwise, the Cards would have considered using 22-year-old flamethrower Carlos Martinez, who currently is excelling in late-inning relief -- including contributing multi-inning performances.

Lyons went 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances (eight starts) for St. Louis last season as a rookie. Right-hander Jorge Rondon will be demoted to clear the roster spot for Lyons.


David Goldman/Associated PressJhonny Peralta is off to a slow start at the plate after signing a $53 million deal with St. Louis.


• St. Louis struck quickly in free agency, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for four years, $53 million on Nov. 24 despite Peralta returning from a Biogenesis-related suspension. After going 0-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitless streak to 12 at-bats, Peralta’s average has sagged to .172. He has displayed some power, having produced four homers.

• The Cards have an entirely new look to their infield. Last year, it primarily was Allen Craig at first base, Matt Carpenter at second, Pete Kozma at shortstop and David Freese at third. Now, Matt Adams handles first base (with Craig in right field), Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis share second, Peralta is at shortstop and Carpenter is locked into third.

Carpenter, a 2013 All-Star, shifted with the trade of Freese to the Los Angeles Angels. Freese was sent to Anaheim with Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

Adams lifted his average to .357 Sunday with a 2-for-4 game against the Washington Nationals.

The lefty-hitting Wong and righty-hitting Ellis are not in a strict platoon. For instance, Ellis started against the right-handed Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. Ellis had opened the season on the DL with left knee tendinitis. Ellis, who made his Cards debut last Tuesday, was signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal in December after playing the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lance Lynn has the best March/April record in MLB history among pitchers with at least 10 starts. He is 11-0 in 12 starts, topping Babe Ruth’s previous-best .929 winning percentage (13-1 in 16 starts). The last unbeaten March/April pitcher was Ray Fisher, who was 9-0 from 1910 through 1920.

• Catcher Yadier Molina has an 11-game hitting streak. He has won six straight Gold Gloves behind the plate.

• The lefty-hitting Jon Jay and righty-hitting Bourjos share time in center field.

Adam Wainwright, who logged 241 2/3 innings in 2013, retired 18 in a row at one point while tossing a two-hit shutout against the Nats in his last outing. It was Wainwright’s 17th career complete game, which is seventh-most in the majors since 2007.

• Although his arsenal appeared just fine in 2013, right-hander Michael Wacha is trying to incorporate a cutter this season and become a three-pitch pitcher. He also is more frequently flipping a curveball.

• Ex-Yankee Randy Choate has been solid in lefty relief while producing a 1.59 ERA. He has not surrendered a homer since Aug. 1, 2012.

• The Cardinals planned to take a three-car Amtrak train from Washington to New York on Sunday night.

Series preview: Mets vs. Reds

April, 4, 2014
4/04/14
8:45
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (0-3, fifth place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (1-2, third place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Mike Leake (0-0, -.--), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.40) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (0-0, -.--), 1:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

• Cincinnati opened the season with an MLB-high eight players on the disabled list. The most gruesome injury occurred to flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, who was struck by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Salvador Perez on March 19. Chapman suffered eye and nose fractures and also a mild concussion. He had a plate and screws inserted to stabilize the bones near his left eye.


Mark Sheldon/Associated PressAroldis Chapman is taken off the field after being struck by a March 19 line drive.


Also opening the season on the DL: right-handers Mat Latos (Oct. 11 elbow surgery and Feb. 14 knee surgery), Jonathan Broxton (Aug. 23 forearm surgery) and Brett Marshall (finger tendon), left-hander Sean Marshall (shoulder), catcher Devin Mesoraco (oblique), infielder Jack Hannahan (shoulder) and free-agent infielder/outfielder signee Skip Schumaker (shoulder).

Alfredo Simon, who has 19 career saves, steps into the rotation as the fifth starter until Latos returns. Latos tossed four innings for Double-A Pensacola in a rehab start Thursday.

• Bryan Price, 51, is the first-year manager of the Reds. He served the previous four seasons as the team’s pitching coach under Dusty Baker.

J.J. Hoover may take the lead in a closer-by-committee scenario until Broxton and then Chapman returns. Broxton may be back within a week. Hoover’s co-closers for now include Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra and Sam LeCure. Hoover had 23 straight scoreless appearances last summer, a franchise record for a right-hander.

Mike Leake, still 26 year old, already has made five Opening Day rosters with the Reds. His 57 hits are the most by any MLB pitcher since his 2010 debut.

• Cincinnati opened its season by failing to score in its first 17 innings, until Chris Heisey’s walk-off single against St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez won Game 2 of the season, 1-0. Heisey had six spring-training homers, tied for the MLB lead.

• Speedster Billy Hamilton is hitless in 12 at-bats with six strikeouts to open the season. Four of the Ks came on Opening Day. He has been caught stealing only once in his big-league career -- by the Mets’ Juan Centeno last season. Hamilton is handling center field (and playing shallow to take advantage of his speed) with Shin-Soo Choo’s defection to the Texas Rangers on a seven-year, $130 million deal.

• First baseman Joey Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, notched his 1,000th career hit Wednesday.

• Toms River/Rutgers product Todd Frazier had his fourth career multihomer game Thursday.

Johnny Cueto, who made his third straight Opening Day start, was a tough-luck loser against St. Louis. He surrendered a solo homer to Yadier Molina while allowing only two other hits and a walk in seven innings in the Reds’ 1-0 loss to Adam Wainwright. Cueto made only 11 starts last season because of three disabled-list trips.

• Cincinnati experienced a combined 6 hours, 22 minutes of rain delays on Wednesday and Thursday.

• Left fielder Ryan Ludwick had a better Opening Day this season than a year ago, even though he went 0-for-4. In the 2013 opener, Ludwick tore the labrum in his right shoulder on a headfirst slide into third base. He required surgery and did not return until Aug. 12.

• Catcher Brayan Pena, who played with the Detroit Tigers in 2013, signed a two-year, $2.275 million contract in November. Incumbent catcher Ryan Hanigan was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in December.

• Right-hander Homer Bailey signed a six-year, $105 million extension with the Reds on Feb. 19. He went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 32 starts last season and would have been eligible for free agency next winter.

Cards 6, Mets 4: Lannan retires final 8

March, 12, 2014
3/12/14
4:02
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- John Lannan may be ticketed for the bullpen, but he made a pretty good case for the fifth-starter’s role Wednesday.

The southpaw retired the final eight batters he faced and limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two unearned runs on three hits in four innings. The Mets ultimately lost, 6-4, at Tradition Field.

David Goldman/Associated PressJohn Lannan limited the Cardinals to two unearned runs in four innings Wednesday.
Of the 15 batters Lannan faced, he struck out five and coaxed nine ground balls.

Lannan surrendered a game-opening infield single to Matt Carpenter. A passed ball from Taylor Teagarden pushed Carpenter to second. He then scored on a bunt and groundout.

An inning later, Lannan surrendered a leadoff double to Stephen Piscotty. The Cards eventually loaded the bases with none out when David Wright was unable to hold Randal Grichuk’s liner and was charged with an error. Still, Lannan minimized the damage. He got Tony Cruz to ground into a run-scoring double play and struck out Pete Kozma.

“The first inning didn’t go as I planned, but sometimes it happens,” Lannan said. “After that double play I settled down and started making some good pitches.”

As for a potential relief role, Lannan added: “The possibility of it has been brought up to me, just in conversation. I started today, and I’m going to act as if I’m starting five days from now, until I’m told otherwise.”

Ouch: Kyle Farnsworth, who is not projected to make the Opening Day bullpen unless he suddenly upgrades his performance, surrendered consecutive rockets in the seventh inning. Piscotty blasted a triple off the left-field wall. One batter later, Kolten Wong delivered a two-run homer to right field as St. Louis took a 4-0 lead.

There should be an early verdict with Farnsworth. He has a March 23 “out” in his contract.

Welcome back: In his first game since injuring his right shin Friday, Daniel Murphy started at second base and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Seventh heaven: Juan Lagares delivered a two-run single against Kevin Butler with the bases loaded to pull the Mets within 4-2 in the seventh. Brandon Allen chased Butler with an ensuing RBI single that pulled the Mets within a run.

A half-inning later, however, Joel Carreño loaded the bases and then walked in a run. Jeff Walters entered and uncorked a wild pitch that made it 6-3.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis tripled and scored on Andrew Brown's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez had blanked the Mets through four innings.

Closer call: Bobby Parnell tossed a scoreless ninth inning with one walk in his second Grapefruit League appearance. His fastball sat at 88-89 mph during a 12-pitch frame.

What’s next: Fifth-starter frontrunner Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start at 1:05 p.m. Thursday against the Washington Nationals in Viera. Noah Syndergaard follows him on the mound. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom also are on the trip. Left-hander Ross Detwiler starts for the Nats.

Mets 5, Cards 5: Murph avoids scare

March, 7, 2014
3/07/14
5:46
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright went hitless in three at-bats in his 2014 Grapefruit League debut, but the Mets rallied for a 5-5 tie against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday afternoon, thanks to consecutive two-out RBI singles in the bottom of the ninth by Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell.

[+] EnlargeDaniel Murphy
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonDaniel Murphy on sliding into Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong: "I ran into a truck."
Wright and Daniel Murphy had been held out of the first week of Grapefruit League play by Terry Collins to try to prevent an early-camp injury. Murphy also made his exhibition debut Friday and fortunately escaped injury on an aggressive fourth-inning slide into second base. He finished 1-for-2 with a double and a walk.

Wright was buzzed up and in by the first pitch he saw from hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Martinez. He ultimately grounded out to shortstop twice and also hit into a 5-4-3 double play. He received no chances at third base.

“It’s the first game,” Wright said. “Everything feels a little awkward. It doesn't help all that much that the first guy you face is throwing 97 mph.”

Murphy’s hold-your-breath moment came when he tried to break up Wright’s fourth-inning, double-play grounder. Murphy slid late and directly into Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. Murphy then hobbled off the field but remained in the game and portrayed the issue afterward as simply a scraped right shin.

“I ran into a truck,” Murphy said. “He’s strong. I went in there to break up two, and he didn't move. I was surprised. I asked him if he was all right. It should have been the other way around.”

Asked if Murphy should be scaling back his aggressiveness in a spring training game and save such slides for the regular season, Collins said, “He only knows one way to play. And that’s why he’s a good player.”

It was a rough day for Mets fielders, with errors charged to Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Andrew Brown, among countless other misplays.

In fact, Tejada failed on three makeable plays. In the first inning, Matt Holliday’s grounder bounced off the shortstop and into the outfield for a run-scoring single charged to Daisuke Matsuzaka. Later, the Cardinals’ final run scored when Tejada failed to handle a hard smash from Wang in his vicinity. That play was scored a single.

Tejada, who had been dealing with a left-hamstring injury, was playing in his first Grapefruit League game since last Friday.

lastname
Murphy
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Wright
Collins excused those plays, plus Murphy’s error on a grounder, because of the hard infield on the windy day, as well as because of rust from inactivity.

“Those are plays you've seen all those guys make before,” Collins said.

Matsuzaka and John Lannan, the primary fifth-starter contenders, each allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. Matsuzaka surrendered six hits. Lannan surrendered three.

“There were a few unlucky hits that dropped in,” Dice-K said through his interpreter. “In general, I think I was able to accomplish what I wanted to today.”

Matsuzaka said his slider was better than his previous outing, but his location “was a little bit of a problem.”

Lannan said, “The first inning was kind of rough, second inning was a little bit better. I still have room to improve.” The southpaw was disappointed with his slider and said his fastball seemed to have less life in this appearance.

The young pitchers performed much better.

Rafael Montero was poised to pitch two perfect innings until Brown dropped the would-be final out of the sixth. An unearned run eventually scored when Wong’s smash got through Tejada.

Steven Matz, ticketed for Class A St. Lucie to open the season, allowed a single and a walk but rallied to strand both runners with three straight strikeouts in the seventh.

Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless ninth.

Wilfredo Tovar finished the game at shortstop in his first action since suffering a hamstring injury Feb. 28.

The game included one failed replay challenge and some comedy in the clubhouse.

Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler and Jeremy Hefner were given a walkie-talkie and assigned to watch SNY in the clubhouse. They were instructed to radio to Bob Geren in the dugout if any plays ought to be challenged.

The problem? On a close call at second base in which Eric Young Jr. was called out attempting a steal, SNY never showed a replay before going to commercial. So the Mets passed on challenging. (In-season, the Mets will have several angles available immediately on a feed and will not be reliant on telecasts.)

“We didn’t miss it!” Gee playfully protested. “SNY went right to commercial.”

The Cardinals did challenge an eighth-inning call but failed to get it overturned because Flores had successfully blocked second base and applied a tag.

Collins, by the way, confirmed Flores is scheduled to start at shortstop in the next few days. The manager also wants to use Flores at third base, reasoning that if Flores is going to make the team, he needs to be able to play all the infield positions.

As for Flores’ ninth-inning RBI single during the game-tying rally, Collins said, “That’s what he’s done his whole minor league career. He drives in runs.”

What's next: Noah Syndergaard opposes the Tigers on Saturday in Lakeland.

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
8:45
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright consecutively to close this week's series.
METS (14-20, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (23-13, first place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.63) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (5-1, 2.72), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55) vs. LHP John Gast (0-0, -.--), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-3, 8.59) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.58), 8:15 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright combined to retire 40 straight Colorado Rockies from the second batter of Friday’s game through the 13th batter Saturday. That matched the major league record for most consecutive batters retired in a series, initially set by the Texas Rangers against the Detroit Tigers on May 3-4, 1996.

The 22-year-old Miller, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft, allowed a game-opening single to Eric Young Jr., then retired 27 straight. The following day, Wainwright had a no-hit bid end after 7 1/3 innings on a Nolan Arenado single.

Despite missing an entire season, Wainwright is tied for the second-most shutouts in the majors since 2010 (six), trailing only Cliff Lee (seven). Miller, 22, made his major league debut last Sept. 5 against the Mets with two scoreless innings.


Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images
John Gast makes his major league debut Tuesday in place of Jake Westbrook.


St. Louis starting pitchers had a 21-7 record and MLB-leading 2.11 ERA until Jaime Garcia modestly tarnished that by allowing five runs in six innings in a loss Sunday.

Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.62 ERA), who had been scheduled to face the Mets, instead landed on the disabled list with right-elbow inflammation. Left-hander John Gast has been promoted from Triple-A Memphis and will start Tuesday in his major league debut in Westbrook’s place. Although not a top prospect like Michael Wacha (who is 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts with Memphis), Gast is 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in six starts for that Pacific Coast League club this season.

Lance Lynn had a personal 10-game winning streak dating to last Sept. 9 snapped with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. It had been the longest active winning streak in the majors. Lynn (24-9 in his career) has never lost consecutive games.

Yadier Molina, who ranks fourth in the NL in batting at .343, lost an 11-game hitting streak Sunday. He has started all but one game this season. However, backup Tony Cruz is expected to get one start against the Mets. Cruz’s only start so far came April 19 at Philadelphia.

Pete Kozma showed enough during spring training to beat out ex-Met Ronny Cedeno for the shortstop job in place of the injured Rafael Furcal. Kozma, a 2012 postseason hero, provides steady defense (one error so far), albeit with unexceptional range or flair.

Furcal strained an elbow ligament near the end of the 2012 regular season and missed the postseason. After visiting James Andrews during spring training, Furcal concluded he would need Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season.

Kozma had the tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the Cards’ division series, which knocked the Washington Nationals out last October.

• Second baseman Matt Carpenter never played that position in the minors. He is a natural third baseman who also played first base and the outfield with St. Louis in 2012. Fellow lefty hitter Daniel Descalso, who competed for the job in spring training, also sees some action at the position when Carpenter slides over to third base in place of David Freese.

• Left fielder Matt Holliday left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury after tripping at first base, but returned to action Sunday.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 Sunday as his average dipped to .298. Despite reduced mobility in right field at this stage of his career, Beltran entered the series finale against Colorado hitting .345 since April 15.

Jason Motte, who had an NL-leading 42 saves last season, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday after initially hoping to rehab and avoid the procedure. Edward Mujica is 9-for-9 in save chances.

The Cards’ bullpen still has the worst ERA in the NL, but it has dramatically improved with a shakeup that involved demoting left-hander Marc Rzepczynski on April 27 and right-hander Mitchell Boggs on May 3. Entering Sunday, when rookie Carlos Martinez surrendered three runs in relief, the Cards' bullpen had a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings since May 3.

Martinez’s fastball has averaged 96.4 mph since a promotion from Double-A Springfield 10 days ago. He is the No. 3-rated prospect in the St. Louis organization, according to Baseball America. He nearly exclusively started in the minors but is getting introduced to the majors as a reliever, which is tradition with the Cards. Pitching prospect Seth Maness, like Martinez, was promoted for bullpen use after primarily starting in the minors.

Chris Carpenter, whose career appeared in jeopardy because of nerve damage in his arm, may return this season. He threw a 75-pitch bullpen session Friday.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187