Well, at least it was short. In two hours and seven minutes the Mets lost to the Cardinals 6-2 at a steamy Citi Field Thursday afternoon, blowing a chance for a sweep. But still, they took the series, passing their second big test of the second half (they failed the first — the lost series to the Phillies last weekend).
Jonathon Niese (below) dug a hole early, allowing a mammoth two-run homer to Albert Pujols in the first inning.
Niese settled down and pitched fairly well the rest of the way, but poor defense doomed him and the Mets in the fifth. Down 2-1 with one out and a man on second, Niese broke the cardinal rule (literally, in this case!) by walking opposing pitcher Jake Westbrook. The next batter hit a ground ball to first baseman Lucas Duda. Duda — not a first baseman by trade — threw to second for the force, but hit the Westbrook instead. The ball bounced into the outfield and the runner on second scampered home. The next batter singled to center, scoring Westbrook. However Angel Pagan inexplicably threw behind the runner — a bad decision made worse by the fact no one was covering first base. The ball bounced around foul territory and another run scored to make it 5-1.
And that was all she wrote. The only Mets highlight was a triple by Jose Reyes, his 16th of the season and erasing any doubt that his hamstring has healed.
Now it’s off on a ten-game road trip with the big question remaining — when they board the train or the bus or the plane in D.C. on July 31 to come back home, does Carlos Beltran get on, or will he be on his way to meet his new team?