New York Mets: Tony Cruz

Cards 6, Mets 4: Lannan retires final 8

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
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.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cardinals

June, 10, 2013
6/10/13
4:39
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright during a midweek series at Citi Field.
METS (23-35, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (41-22, first place/NL Central)

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-5, 4.36) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (0-0, 5.40), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-6, 5.20) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (7-3, 1.91), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 2.10) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (9-3, 2.34), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Rookie phenom Michael Wacha makes his third major league start when he faces the Mets in the series opener. Wacha, 21, was the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft out of Texas A&M. He was selected with a pick obtained from the Los Angeles Angels after Albert Pujols defected in free agency. (The Mets took high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini 12th overall last year. He is slated to play at Brooklyn beginning later this month.)

The Cardinals did not show the same Super 2 hesitancy in promoting Wacha as the Mets have with Zack Wheeler. In reality, St. Louis usually locks up its young players as they approach arbitration eligibility. So Wacha might end up a little more expensive, but St. Louis does not care. Past examples of Cardinals who were locked up as their arbitration years began: Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Allen Craig. Lance Lynn may be next in line.

The 6-foot-6 Wacha throws overhand with a steep downward plane and has the best changeup in the organization.


Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesMatt Carpenter has hit .418 during an 18-game hitting streak.


• Three Cardinals enter the series with double-digit hitting streaks: third baseman David Freese (19 games, during which he is hitting .375 with 16 RBIs), second baseman Matt Carpenter (18 games, .418) and old friend Carlos Beltran (10 games, .362).

• Beltran -- who has moved into third in NL All-Star balloting in the outfield, passing Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun -- had a proud moment today. He attended the first graduation ceremony at the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, which he founded in his native Puerto Rico. Of the 44 graduating students, all have college baseball offers. Two were drafted, including shortstop Jan Hernandez in the third round (96th overall) to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yadier Molina (.354) leads the National League in batting average, three points ahead of Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. Since getting a rare day off against the Mets on May 15 at Busch Stadium, Molina has started all but three games. The last one backup Tony Cruz started came last Wednesday, when Molina served a one-game suspension for bumping umpire Mike Everitt. Molina had been called out on a close play at first base by fellow ump Clint Fagan.

• Rookie Shelby Miller leads the National League with a 1.91 ERA, narrowly ahead of L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw (1.93) and Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (1.98). Miller sports a deceptive power fastball that he elevates in the zone. He recently has started tinkering with a sinker.

• Wainwright is tied with Corbin and Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann for the NL wins lead at nine. How bored has Wainwright become? In addition to sporting arguably the game’s best curveball, Wainwright has started changing his mechanics during games to toy with opponents. He sometimes will add a pause in his delivery like Dan Haren does, and sometimes with quick pitch. He also will change his spot on the rubber between hitters. Sometimes he will start his delivery with his hands upward, and sometimes at the belt.

Jake Westbrook (elbow) is due to return from the DL and reenter the rotation Friday.

• The Cardinals are hitting an MLB-best .341 with runners in scoring position, a full 34 points better than runner-up Tampa Bay.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 4, Mets 2

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
11:23
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Oops, they did it again.

Inheriting runners on the corners from Shaun Marcum with two outs in the seventh inning and the score tied, Scott Rice tossed a wild pitch that allowed Daniel Descalso to race home from third with the go-ahead run.

The Mets ultimately lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, spoiling Marcum’s first solid outing as a Met and Rick Ankiel’s game-tying two-run homer.


Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
With Ty Wigginton batting, the second pitch from Scott Rice skipped by John Buck for a run-scoring wild pitch that gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.


Rice was making his 23rd appearance, tied for the major league lead.

It marked the second time this season a Mets game was decided by a run-scoring wild pitch. Brandon Lyon did the honors in Miami for a walk-off loss on April 30.

The Mets (14-23) now have a season-high six-game losing streak for the second time in 2013. They have lost 14 of 18 to drop nine games under .500 this early in a season for the first time since May 13, 2001, under Bobby Valentine (also 14-23).

Marcum (6.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER) completed five innings for the first time as a Met -- he actually had his longest outing since last June 14 with the Milwaukee Brewers -- but nonetheless dropped to 0-4.

Ankiel had belted his first homer as a Met, a two-run shot in the top half of the seventh against Seth Maness, to even the score at 2. In 70 at-bats this season between the Mets and Houston Astros, Ankiel has six homers and 37 strikeouts.

OOPS, THE PREQUEL: Jon Jay’s two-out double to right-center in the fourth plated Matt Holliday with the game’s opening run.

Jay, apparently concerned about a potential play at the plate with Holliday, essentially gave himself up between second and third to deter the Mets from throwing home. That worked ... better than he could have expected. David Wright dropped the ball while applying a tag on Jay, and he successfully proceeded to third. After Wright's error, Jay scored an unearned run and gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead when Tony Cruz, getting a rare start over Yadier Molina, delivered a single.

Molina was heard from before the game ended. His pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth against LaTroy Hawkins gave St. Louis a two-run cushion.

WOE IS IKE: The Mets were shut down by Shelby Miller for 5 2/3 innings and Ike Davis twice failed to come through with runners in scoring position as the Mets were blanked until Ankiel’s blast.

Davis’ first-inning strikeout against Miller stranded Wright at second base. An inning later, John Buck was doubled off second base on Ruben Tejada’s lineout to center to end the half-inning. In the sixth, after Daniel Murphy doubled with one out and stole third, Wright struck out. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then lifted Miller for left-hander Randy Choate, who coaxed an inning-ending groundout from Davis to preserve a 2-0 lead.

Miller tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to shave his ERA to 1.40, tied with Clayton Kershaw and narrowly ahead of Matt Harvey (1.44) for tops in the National League.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93 ERA) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30) in the 1:45 p.m. ET series finale Thursday as the Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep. The Cardinals last swept a series of four or more games from the Mets in September 1982 at Shea Stadium, when Keith Hernandez played for St. Louis.

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.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187