The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals have been two of the best teams in the National League this season. After splitting the first two games of the series, they faced off one more time on Thursday afternoon. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Martinez were on the mound to create one of the best starting pitching matchups of the year.
The first inning is always the best time to score off of a great starting pitcher, and that is exactly what the Mets did on Thursday. After Brandon Nimmo got hit by a pitch to start the game, Yoenis Cespedes immediately drove him in with a double to left field. Carlos Martinez quickly retired the next three batters as he started to settle into the game. Unlike his counterpart, Noah Syndergaard was extremely sharp with his opening pitches. He only need 13 pitches to get through the top three batters in the St. Louis order.
The game turned into the pitching duel everyone expected after the first inning. A combined total of seven batters reached based over the next five innings. With base runners scarce, the Mets still held their 1-0 lead at the end of the sixth inning. The Cardinals put reliever Dominic Leone on the mound to start the seventh inning, but removing Martinez turned out to be the wrong decision. After singles by Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo, Yoenis Cespedes drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.
St. Louis finally started to figure out Syndergaard in the seventh inning. A Marcel Ozuna RBI double put the Cardinals within one run. Syndergaard’s struggles continued before he was lifted after recording one out in the eighth inning. Tommy Pham drove in the tying run on the first pitch after Syndergaard was removed.
The game remained tied until the Mets came to bat in the 10th inning. They scored with a bases loaded walk by Jose Lobaton, but could not extend the rally. With his team in the lead, Jeurys Familia entered the game in the bottom of the 10th inning. Familia has been the best closer in the game this year, but he did not have his best stuff on Thursday. Jose Martinez extended the game with a RBI double. The Mets eventually lost the game 4-3 in 13 innings after Paul Seward gave up the winning hit to Dexter Fowler.
The Mets start a three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Friday, April 27.