The game of baseball is extremely hard to figure out. Today, in a demonstration of this difficulty I refer to, the Mets pounded Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright.
After struggling to score, much less collect hits on the recent 11-game road trip, the Mets knocked Wainwright out of the game after five innings and scoring six runs.
The Cardinals had something cooking in the first inning against Jon Niese, putting two men on to start the game.
Niese recovered and retired both Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, with David Wright throwing out a runner at the plate to get through the big bats.
Ryan Ludwick then hit a soft comebacker to Niese, who couldn't snare the ball, allowing Ludwick to beat it out for a run-scoring infield hit.
It looked like the Mets were already in trouble, being the Cardinals are a Major League best 39-9 when scoring first this season, and they had 14-game winner Adam Wainwright on the mound.
Wainwright looked sharp in the first, inducing three groundouts. But it looked like his curveball wasn't at its best.
The Mets tied the game in the second with David Wright working for a leadoff walk and went to third on a double by Carlos Beltran. Ike Davis followed with a run-scoring groundout, tying the game at 1-1.
The Mets broke through against Wainwright in the fourth as they finally figured out his off-speed pitches.
After a walk to Beltran and single by Davis, Jeff Francoeur cracked a three-run home run to left field, giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.
Francoeur got the start in right field after the news that Jason Bay was sidelined with a concussion.
The Mets added two more in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Wright and RBI single by Beltran, extending the Mets lead to 6-1.
Wainwright would not return, going five innings, allowing six runs on six hits. He also uncharacteristically walked three batters in the game, having only walked 36 all season.
Niese, who has been deprived of run support, held the Cardinals down nicely.
His biggest jam came in the sixth inning. After recording the first two outs, he loaded the bases on two walks and a Wright error. He would not allow any runs to score, getting Aaron Miles to fly out to end the frame.
The Mets blew the game open with two more in the sixth on a two-run home run by Jose Reyes, making it 8-1.
After allowing two hits to start the seventh, Niese was pulled by acting manager Dave Jauss, filling in for the suspended Jerry Manuel.
The Cardinals would score another run in the eighth off Manny Acosta, as the Mets beat the first-place Cardinals, 8-2.
Niese didn't have his best stuff, but pitched a solid game. In six innings, he allowed one run on eight hits, he walked two and struck out one.
With the win, the Mets are now 15 games over .500 at home, and are 51-49 through the first 100 games of the season.
They gained a game in the NL East, with the Braves having lost to the Nationals.
The Mets will have Johan Santana on the mound tomorrow night against Jaime Garcia.
NL East standings (top 3 teams)
Philadelphia 53-46 (4 GB)
NY Mets 51-49 (6.5 GB)
Series probable pitchers:
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 8-5, 2.79 ERA) vs. St. Louis: Jaime Garcia (2010: 9-4, 2.21 ERA)
New York: R.A. Dickey (2010: 6-4, 2.55 ERA) vs. St. Louis: Blake Hawksworth (2010: 4-6, 5.23 ERA)
New York Mets:
July 28-29 vs. St. Louis Cardinals
July 30-August 1 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals:
July 28-29 @ New York Mets
July 30-August 1 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates