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Florida men give Mets the series

Senga’s strong outing, bad Cardinals defense, and two strong dudes power the Mets in St. Louis

MLB: New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

When the Mets traded for Daniel Vogelbach last year, they envisioned a middle of the lineup with he and Pete Alonso providing prodigious power from the left and right side. That hasn’t come all the way to fruition, but Mets fans saw the plan fully realized tonight against the Cardinals.

Thanks in large part to backbreaking home runs from their Florida men, the Mets (58-66) beat the Cardinals (54-70) 13-2 Saturday night at Busch Stadium, taking the series and continuing to creep up from the bottom of the NL Wild Card chase.

The Mets scored their first two runs thanks to uncharacteristically bad defense from the Cardinals, defensively a league-average team in 2023 despite their other shortcomings. The first came in the first inning with Jeff McNeil on first and Francisco Lindor on third, where an errant throw from Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner trying to prevent McNeil from stealing second base allowed Lindor to jog home.

The second came with two outs in the third inning, where after Lindor turned a single into a double thanks to right fielder Alec Burleson’s slow approach to the ball, McNeil drove him in on a hard shot to first base that Paul Goldschmidt couldn’t handle. DJ Stewart made sure the Cardinals’ defense didn’t have a shot in the fourth inning with a two-out solo home run to right field, though Nolan Arenado responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 3-1. That’s the closest to the lead the Cardinals would be all game.

With the bases loaded and two batters out in the top of the fifth, Vogelbach sent a low-flying line drive that scraped over the wall in right-center field, allowing him and three friends to jog home. Majestic a grand slam it was not, but they all count the same, as Vogelbach’s tenth home run of the season gave the Mets a 7-1 lead.

That batter was the last for Cardinals’ starter Miles Mikolas, who gave up a season-high seven runs in 4.2 innings. Mets’ starter Kodai Senga, on the other hand, continued his impressive second half, mostly keeping the forkball in his pocket but still allowing only two hits and one run through seven solid innings.

With two outs and a runner on first in the top of the seventh, Alonso launched a 466’ home run to left-center field, giving the Mets a 9-1 lead, Alonso the fourth-longest home run of his career, and 38th home run of the season. The Mets tacked on three more runs in the eighth inning with bases loaded and two outs when an ill-advised throw from third base on Lindor’s infield single skipped by Cardinals’ backup first baseman Luken Baker, clearing the bases and making the score 12-1.

In just his third appearance of the season and with an eleven-run lead, Vinny Nittoli recorded the final six outs to close out the game for the Mets, who will go for the series sweep tomorrow. Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to face off against Dakota Hudson, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:15 ET.

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor, +19% WPA

Big Mets loser: Pete Alonso (lol), -7% WPA

Mets pitchers: +15% WPA

Mets hitters: +35% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Vogelbach grand slam, +18.3% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Arenado home run, -9.1% WPA