Whether this week's series win over the Cardinals marks the high point in an otherwise dismal Mets season or becomes the start of something wonderful and surprising remains to be seen. Right now all we have this this: The Mets just took three of four games from St. Louis, and Bartolo Colon is not the worst Matt Harvey replacement that we could have dreamed up.
Colon was masterful through seven innings, Daniel Murphy came up with a pair of RBI hits, and Daisuke Matsuzaka recorded the first save of his MLB career in a 4-1 Mets win today. The Cardinals continued to struggle on offense, with just four hits all afternoon, but starter Lance Lynn did a good job to keep them in the game for the first five innings.
Lynn dueled with Colon in the early goings, with each hurler tossing up bagels through four frames. The Mets didn't get a man on base until Ruben Tejada laced an opposite field single with one out in the third inning. That went for naught, though, as Colon struck out on a foul bunt and Eric Young Jr. went down looking on a two-seam fastball.
Colon did Lynn one better, pitching perfectly through the first three innings. Jon Jay finally reached base for the Cardinals with a single in the fourth, but Colon made sure it didn't amount to much when he sneaked a two-seam fastball by Matt Adams to end the inning.
The fifth looked to be similarly fruitless for St. Louis, but then Kolten Wong lined a single to right with two outs. Backup catcher Tony Cruz followed up by ripping a hanging slider into the left-center field gap. Chris Young tried but failed to cut the ball off before the wall, and Wong raced around to score the game's first run.
It seemed a shame for the Mets to be trailing in a game that was being so expertly pitched by Colon. Fortunately, that feeling didn't last too long. Chris Young led off the Mets' half of the fifth by jumping on a Lynn heater and drilling it all the way to the mezzanine beyond left field.
With the game now emphatically tied at 1-1, the Mets figured they could add some more scoring. Bobby Abreu lined a double to left field for his first hit as a Met, but his teammates couldn't find a way to get him to home plate. Anthony Recker struck out, Tejada went down looking, and Colon grounded out weakly to end the threat.
That was a poor way to end the inning, but Colon put momentum right back in New York's favor with a perfect sixth. The flow continued on offense when Eric Young Jr. laid down a bunt to lead off the bottom of the inning. Lynn threw the ball away trying to get the out at first, and the Mets were in business again with a runner at second base. Murphy followed up the blunder a line drive to center field that looked like it might stay in the air long enough for Jay to make a play.
As fate would have it, Jay's diving attempt game up just short, allowing the ball to get by him for a double. Young easily scored from second, and the Mets had the last run that they would need. At the time, though, it looked like they might need more. Fans would have to be patient, as a Duda strikeout, a Chris Young pop up, and an Abreu ground out kept Murphy stranded at the end of the sixth.
After Colon retired three of four Cardinals in the seventh, the Mets' bats went back to work. Recker started things with a walk and was bunted over by Tejada. That brought up Curtis Granderson, who was pinch-hitting for Colon and his 104 pitches. Luck hasn't been on Granderson's side this season, but it was today. The sharp ground ball he hit right at Mark Ellis (who had just entered the game on a double switch!) scooted under the second baseman's glove and into right field. Recker scored on the play, while Granderson was caught in a rundown trying to advance on the throw to the plate.
The third run wasn't enough for the Mets, though! Eric Young Jr. ripped a triple to the right-center field gap and was promptly driven home by a Murphy bloop single. Now that they had a three-run cushion, the Mets could comfortably cruise to victory.
Of course, that's not actually what happened. Newly official eighth inning man Carlos Torres was battled to a walk by Ellis to start the eighth. Torres recovered to retire Matt Carpenter and Jay, but he followed with a walk of Matt Holliday to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Matt Adams.
The left-handed slugger's power has yet to show up yet this season, but Terry Collins wasn't taking any chances. He switched Torres out for Scott Rice, who got a comebacker from Adams to end the threat.
Now it finally was time to relax, though. With Kyle Farnsworth having pitched on three of the past four nights, Collins brought on Matsuzaka for his first ever save opportunity. The jack-of-all-trades did not disappoint, taking down the Cardinals in order and locking up the win.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Bartolo Colon +23.2%, Daniel Murphy +22.5%, Chris Young +12.8%
Big losers: David Wright -8.4%, Lucas Duda -7.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Chris Young hits a solo homer to tie the game in the fifth inning, +17.9%
Teh sux0rest play: Tony Cruz hits an RBI double to give the Cardinals the lead in the fifth inning, -18.3%
Total pitcher WPA: +28.9%
Total batter WPA: +21.1%
GWRBI!: Daniel Murphy with his RBI double in the sixth inning.