Max Scherzer pulled himself out of a start Wednesday night with discomfort in his left side before the Mets finished off an 11-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pete Alonso homered and drove in four runs for the Mets (25-14), who improved to 13-1 following a loss. The only time they dropped consecutive games this season was April 10-11.
Jeff McNeil had an early two-run single and Alonso snapped a 2-all tie with an RBI single off rookie reliever Jake Walsh (0-1) in a four-run fifth inning. Dominic Smith knocked in a run with a single during the outburst, and Luis Guillorme drove in another with a nicely executed safety squeeze.
Mets batters were hit by pitches three times, rising to their major league-leading total of 28. That includes eight by the Cardinals pitchers in six games – the teams got a bench-clearing melee in St. Louis last month.
Both benches were warned Wednesday night after Mark Canha was hit near the ribs by a 98 mph fastball from Cardinals starter Jordan Hicks in the third, but there was no trouble between the teams.
Canha scored three times and followed Brandon Nimmo’s run-scoring triple with an RBI single as the Mets broke open a 6-4 game with a five-run eighth capped by Alonso’s three-run homer off TJ McFarland.
Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols got two hits to pass Eddie Collins for the 10th spot on the career list with 3,314, including an early two-run single off Scherzer (5-1).
The three-time Cy Young Award winner left with two outs in the sixth and a 1-1 count on Pujols. He’ll have an MRI on Thursday, the Mets said.
The 2022 MLB Season
“Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic. “
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With two runners on, Scherzer threw a slider in the dirt and immediately signaled to the New York bench that he was done.
Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, manager Buck Showalter and a trainer came out of the dugout to visit Scherzer on the mound. After a quick discussion, the 37-year-old right-hander walked off the field.
Scherzer threw 61 of his 87 pitches for strikes and left with a 6-2 lead against his hometown team. Adam Ottavino was given all the time he needed to warm up, and he struck out at Pujols to end the inning.
The 42-year-old Pujols, who stole second off Scherzer, also grounded out with a score of 6-4 and a runner-up against Seth Lugo.
Yankees Win With Baserunning and Defense
BALTIMORE – On a night when their bats were held in check, the Yankees found another way to win.
Gerrit Cole pitched seven efficient innings, the defense backed him up with several strong plays and New York beat the skidding Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, Wednesday night.
Cole (4-0) allowed two runs and six hits with five strikeouts. Behind him, right fielder Marwin Gonzalez made two clutch grabs and Josh Donaldson flagged down several sharp grounders. Then, in the eighth, first baseman Anthony Rizzo grabbed a scorching liner to start an unassisted double play.
The Yankees managed only six hits, but a three-run first inning that featured a sprint from second to home on a wild pitch proved enough to squeeze out a victory.
And that, to a large degree, explains why New York is off to an amazing 28-9 start.
“Tonight we won on baserunning and defense,” Cole noted, “and we’re the Bronx Bombers.”
No home runs required. The Yankees could muster only a pair of doubles, but they still secured their 21st win in 24 games.
“It’s been a great start, no question,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Just really pleased with how they’re doing it – in a lot of different ways. Tonight we leaned on the pitching and great baserunning. “
New York broke into the top of the first when Gleyber Torres followed with two-out singles by Rizzo and Donaldson with an RBI double. Then, on a wild pitch by Jordan Lyles, Donaldson scored and Torres came home to catcher Anthony Bemboom’s errant throw to the plate.
That was enough to propel the Yankees to their ninth win in the last 10 games. New York’s 28-9 start is tied for second-best in the majors since 1948, trailing only the 1984 Detroit Tigers at 32-5.
The Yankees will try to complete a four-game sweep of last-place Baltimore on Thursday afternoon. The Orioles, who have lost six straight, are the only team to take a series from the Yankees this season, winning two of three in mid-April.
After Cole’s impressive outing was done, Clay Holmes worked the final two innings for the third save of his career, all this season and all against the Orioles.