The Mets missed an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the NL East Monday, losing to the Cardinals in a matinee at Citi Field.
The game was scoreless into the fourth when the Cardinals finally scored against a Mets starter. Allen Craig singled off of Dillon Gee to drive in Matt Holliday to break the streak.
In the bottom of the inning Lucas Duda hit a long home run into the upper deck in right to tie the game at one. Duda now has nine home runs on the season.
But things fell apart in the seventh. Gee walked leadoff batter Craig and allowed a single to David Freese to put runners on first and third with no outs. Daniel Descalso hit a comebacker for an almost certain double play with the runner holding at third. But Gee threw the ball into center field and Craig scored to make it 2-1. Adron Chambers then hit a ball up the middle that Omar Quintanilla bobbled, and flipped to Daniel Murphy too late to get Descalso to load the bases. It was scored a hit but it should have been an error. Freese would score on a fielder’s choice on a great play by David Wright that saved another run, but the Cardinals extended the lead to 3-1.
Once again the Mets answered back in the bottom of the inning. David Wright singled and Terry Collins decided to pinch hit for the struggling Ike Davis with a lefty reliever on the mound. Scott Hairston responded by slamming a two-run homer to left to tie the game at three.
Gee was lifted after seven, leaving it to the bullpen, which is always a bad idea. Jon Rauch allowed a single and then a two-run home run to Craig to give the Cardinals the 5-3 lead. Rauch now has a 4.76 ERA.
In the eighth pinch-hitter Josh Thole singled and Kirk Nieuwenhius doubled to put runners on second and third. Andres Torres hit a long fly to right that just kept carrying. Carlos Beltran was able to track it down on the warning track, but Thole tagged up to make it 5-4, with Nieuwenhuis advancing to third with two outs. Wright, however, lined out to right to end the inning.
The Mets lose 5-4, but still, it was a hugely successful weekend. They took three out of four from the Cardinals. Oh, and there was something about a no-hitter on Friday?