(BaseballStL) -- If not for a struggling New York Mets offense, Lance Lynn might have been in deeper trouble on Monday.
Lynn labored through the first inning throwing 24 pitches, only 13 for strikes, before avoiding danger with the bases loaded and two outs. A one-out base hit from Daniel Murphy coupled with consecutive two-out walks to Ike Davis and Lucas Duda brought John Buck, who leads the team with 10 home runs, to the plate. Buck would strike out to end the inning.
The Cardinals would give Lynn a 2-0 lead in the bottom half with an RBI ground-rule double from Allen Craig and a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Jon Jay. Mets starter Jeremy Hefner would be bailed out of trouble with sloppy baserunning from Craig, who made the final out trying to tag from second base on Jay’s sac fly.
Lynn’s erratic control would cost him in the second after the Mets scored three runs on back-to-back two-out hits by Daniel Murphy and David Wright. Murphy roped a double to right field past Carlos Beltran, who appeared blinded by the sun, for two runs. Wright added another run for a 3-2 lead.
The second inning started with a leadoff walk to former Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel. Lynn issued another free pass in the inning for a season-high fourth walk in the game.
The Cardinals knotted the game 3-3 in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI single by Matt Carpenter. Hefner got out of a bases loaded jam when Matt Holliday grounded into a double play.
Lynn allowed a career-high fifth walk with one out in the third inning. No extra damage would be done except the fact that he had thrown 69 pitches through three innings.
The rocky start would level off for Lynn, who retired 13 consecutive batters before a two out single by Murphy in the seventh inning.
It was an impressive rebound for Lynn, who threw 69 of his 124 total pitches through the first three innings. He finished with a line that read: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 5 BB, 7 SO.
“When you walk five guys in the first three innings and it comes back to get you, that is frustrating, but I was able to stay in there and give the team a chance to win,” Lynn said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Lynn left with the game tied 3-3 in the seventh inning, but the Cardinals rewarded him with a run in the bottom half to put him in line for his sixth win of the year. The Cardinals took the lead when Carpenter hit a line drive back at the Mets pitcher which caromed into foul territory on the first base side. Ty Wigginton, who was standing on second base, raced home as Buck and Scott Rice ran to field the ball with home plate abandoned. Wigginton was able to slide under Rice’s tag to take a 4-3 lead.
Holliday would add a two-run home run, his sixth of the season, for a 6-3 lead with two outs in the seventh inning. The score would hold up with Randy Choate, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica pitching two scoreless innings to secure the win.
The win gave Lynn his sixth of the season and seventh straight victory at home. His 24 wins since last year are tied with Gio Gonzalez for tops in the league.
“This says a lot about him,” Mike Matheny said. “We know from his history that he’s a guy that can go deeper into his pitch count and he’s shown that he can stay strong. He looked good there late once he did find his timing.”
The Mets’ three runs scored marks the seventh consecutive game with three or fewer runs scored.
by Scott Bierman / BaseballStL