ST. LOUIS – Six straight series victories to start the year? That’ll play.
Backed by Chris Bassitt’s six shutout innings on Tuesday, the Mets beat the Cardinals for a second straight night, this time 3-0, ensuring a series win for the Amazin’s before their finale at Busch Stadium on Wednesday. It is the first time in franchise history the Mets have won their first six series of the season.
Good pitching will go a long way, and the Mets are reveling in that reward following 13 combined scoreless innings from their starters in the first two games of the Cardinals series. After Max Scherzer hurled seven shutout innings in the team’s win on Monday, Bassitt followed with six scoreless innings against Cardinals hitters.
Bassitt gave up just two hits and recorded six strikeouts, walking three, on 94 pitches. The right-hander allowed at least one Cardinals batter to reach base in five of his six innings, but he was able to strand those runners every time. Fortunately for Bassitt, he threw a first-pitch strike to 12 of his final 14 batters to get ahead in the count and have the advantage.
James McCann enjoyed a 3-for-4 night at the plate – hitting to all fields – as the Mets catcher seems to be breaking out a bit offensively. His first hit of the game, an 388-foot RBI double to the warning track in center field, put the Mets on the board. His second hit his was a single to right, and his third his was another single but this time to left. McCann also cranked his first home run of the season at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks this past Friday.
Things got heated in the late innings after Pete Alonso was hit by a Kodi Whitley pitch on his helmet in the eighth. Whitley’s 83-mph changeup drilled Alonso directly on the C-flap of his helmet, the second time this season the Mets first baseman has been plunked head-high. Alonso fell to the ground, but immediately popped back up and, clearly fired up, the slugger appeared to exchange some words with Whitley before jogging to first base.
Mets manager Buck Showalter was the first man out of the dugout, but he walked with a purpose straight to first base to check on Alonso, who seemed OK and remained in the game. Mets players came off the bench and spilled onto the field, but they stayed on the grass behind the third-base line while the Cardinals remained in their dugout. Umpires issued a warning to both teams, and cooler heads prevailed as the situation simmered down.
Alonso was one of three Met hitters plunked on Tuesday. Dominic Smith and Starling Marte were also hit by pitches, with Marte’s coming in the ninth inning after warnings were already issued. But umpires decided there was no intent, so no one was thrown out.
Still, tensions were clearly high in the Mets dugout, as Scherzer was seen jawing at the Cardinals from his spot on the top step of the railing. Marte’s hit-by-pitch was the 18th time the Mets were drilled this season, which leads the major leagues. Alonso and Marte are tied for the major-league lead with four hit-by-pitches each this season.