ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Dominic Smith hustled for an infield single that drove in two pivotal runs, and the Mets capitalized on an uncharacteristic error by Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado to rally for five runs with two outs in the ninth inning of a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
After the hit by Smith gave the Mets the lead, Brandon Nimmo capped the outburst with a two-run homer.
Mets 5, Cardinals 2 | Box Score | Play-by-Play
“It was worth the wait,” Mets Manager Buck Showalter said. “It really was. It was fun to watch.”
Max Scherzer struck out 10 over seven innings of two-hit ball in a scoreless duel with Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas. A two-run single by Tyler O’Neill off Trevor May (1-0) put St. Louis ahead in the eighth.
The Mets were down to their final strike when Mark Canha hit a grounder to third. Arenado, awarded a Gold Glove in each of his nine major league seasons, fielded the ball cleanly behind the bag but took his time making an off-balance throw to first.
The ball sailed high for an error that allowed Eduardo Escobar to score from second, making it 2-1. Canha was credited — curiously — with an infield single.
Jeff McNeil doubled, sending pinch-runner Travis Jankowski to third, and Smith hit a sharp one-hopper that was snagged by sprawling first baseman Paul Goldschmidt behind the bag.
The 2022 M.L.B. Season
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But closer Giovanny Gallegos (0-1) was late covering first, and Smith beat him to the bag with a headfirst dive.
“You try to hustle as hard as you can to beat him. I saw the closer didn’t get over right away,” Smith said. “I just ran as hard as I could. I knew I had a step on him. I felt slow but I tried to run hard.”
McNeil never stopped coming around third and slid in safely at the plate ahead of Gallegos’ throw, giving the fired-up Mets a 3-2 lead.
“Dom probably ran the fastest 90 of his life there,” McNeil said. “I knew it would be close at first base. I ended up scoring. It was a lot of fun.”
Not for St. Louis, after Gallegos’s gaffe proved costly.
“It’s pretty simple. We’re going to make physical mistakes. That’s a mental mistake there,” manager Oliver Marmol said. “You can’t excuse it. He knows it. We know it. He’s got to cover first.”
Nimmo then lofted the first pitch from lefty reliever T.J. McFarland over the fence in the right-field corner.
“A lot of good things went into that ninth,” Showalter said.
Pitching in his hometown, Scherzer reached double digits in strikeouts for the 106th time — which ranks fifth on the career chart. In his first season with the Mets since signing a $130 million, three-year contract, the three-time Cy Young Award winner has 33 strikeouts and eight walks in 25 innings.
DeGrom Said to Have ‘Considerable Healing’
After the game, the Mets said injured ace Jacob deGrom had an M.R.I. and CT scan that “revealed considerable healing of the stress reaction on his scapula.” The two-time Cy Young Award winner was cleared to begin “loading and strengthening” of his right shoulder and will undergo another M.R.I. in about three weeks. He is expected to be sidelined until at least June.
Buehler Gets M.L.B.’s First Shutout of 2022
PHOENIX — Some pitchers chase wins, saves or strikeouts.
Walker Buehler’s statistic of choice is innings pitched.
So it was a big moment for the 27-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers ace when he walked off the mound Monday night after throwing nine superb innings, wrapping up his first career shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 0 | Box Score | Play-by-Play
“The guys I grew up watching did that,” Buehler said. “That was what it meant to be good.”
Buehler (2-1) tossed a three-hitter and Will Smith launched a solo homer for the Dodgers, who won for the 11th time in 13 games.
Buehler cruised most of the way, retiring 15 straight batters during a brilliant stretch from the fourth inning to the ninth. He walked none, hit one batter with a pitch and struck out 10, leaving the field to a standing ovation from the sizable contingent of Dodgers fans at Chase Field.
The right-hander threw 108 pitches, getting Christian Walker on a fly ball to center field for the final out. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler told him he wasn’t coming out of the game as he left the field following the eighth inning.
It was another tough pitching decision for Roberts, who took some heat earlier this year when he pulled Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings against Minnesota. Roberts has said he doesn’t regret the Kershaw decision and he certainly doesn’t regret leaving Buehler in to finish his shutout.
“I trusted him,” Roberts said. “I believed him. He has an extra day before his next start, so everything lined up, made sense. He deserved it, he earned it and it was fun to watch him tonight.”