Cards’ O’Neill has winning hit, twinbill-record 6 Ks vs Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler O’Neill redeemed himself after setting a Cardinals record for a doubleheader with six strikeouts, beating out a tiebreaking infield single in the ninth inning as St. Louis beat the New York Mets 4-3 Tuesday night to split their twinbill.
After New York tied it in the eighth, St. Louis drew two walks against Joely Rodríguez (0-2) in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Nolan Arenado struck out against ex-Rockies teammate Adam Ottavino for the second out.
O’Neill then hit a weak roller off Ottavino. Sure-handed third baseman Eduardo Escobar charged hard but double clutched at the ball, allowing the speedy O’Neill to reach first while Brendan Donovan scored from third.
Giovanny Gallegos allowed one-out singles to Dominic Smith and Luis Guillorme in the ninth, then struck out Mark Canha and Francisco Lindor for his seventh save.
Paul Goldschmidt had three hits in the nightcap as St. Louis played its first doubleheader this year. He also homered in the opener, but Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith helped New York chip away at Miles Mikolas, and Trevor Williams was sharp in a spot start as the Mets won 3-1.
New York tied the late game on McNeil’s RBI single with one out in the eighth — one batter after Escobar reached on a dropped third strike. Ryan Helsley (2-0) got Escobar to whiff at a breaking ball, but catcher Andrew Knizner also missed it with a stab in the dirt.
Mets leadoff man Brandon Nimmo ended a 26-game on-base streak in the opener and left the nightcap after fouling a ball off his right knee.
Canha and Escobar gave New York early leads with solo homers in Game 2, but St. Louis erased them with Goldschmidt’s first RBI double and Tommy Edman’s RBI triple.
Goldschmidt made it 3-2 with another double in the fifth against Mets starter Taijuan Walker, who gave up three runs in five innings. The right-hander got a bases-loaded lineout from the struggling O’Neill for his final out, finishing with four strikeouts, two walks and seven hits allowed.
O’Neill was given Sunday and Monday off with hopes of shaking off a slow start to the season. He entered Tuesday hitting .193 with two homers and a .561 OPS, then went 2 for 9 with six strikeouts, most ever by a Cardinals player in a twinbill, according to SNY.
The two-time Gold Glove-winning left fielder also let a foul popup drop in front of him during New York’s eighth-inning rally in Game 2, his second misplay of the day on a ball in that area.
Ex-Mets pitcher Steven Matz completed five innings for the Cardinals, allowing two runs on three hits. Matz made his second start at Citi Field since New York traded him to Toronto after the 2020 season.
McNeil and Smith each had two hits in Game 1, including an RBI double apiece in the third inning. McNeil also narrowly missed a homer foul during a 12-pitch at-bat against Mikolas in the first and Smith singled and scored on a groundout in the second.
Mikolas (3-2) entered with a 1.49 ERA but allowed a season-high three runs (two earned) over six innings.
“A lot of good at-bats,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “We didn’t strike out a whole lot off him until later on. He’s a good one. He’s got a lot of weapons.”
St. Louis put two runners on against Edwin Díaz in the ninth, but the Mets closer struck out Harrison Bader swinging to earn his ninth save.
New York, coming off its first series loss this year against Seattle, has won 12 straight games following a defeat.
Williams threw four scoreless innings in a spot start for injured Tylor Megill. Jake Reed (1-0) walked two of his first three hitters but still followed Williams with two scoreless innings in his 2022 debut.
NO FRACAS FALLOUT
It was the first meeting between the teams since a bench-clearing scuffle in St. Louis on April 27. After four Mets hitters were plunked in the series, New York reliever Yoan López threw a fastball up and in to Arenado that led to the melee.
Arenado was booed throughout the opener Tuesday, when he was 0 for 4. He was jeered again when he pinch-hit in the ninth. Fans also cheered when Ottavino buzzed him with a high fastball.
Mets: OF Starling Marte was placed on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother. ... RHP Jacob deGrom had a follow-up MRI on Monday that showed progressive healing of the stress reaction in his right scapula. The team said he will continue to ramp up his throwing. ... RHP Steve Nogosek was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and RHP Adonis Medina was added as the 27th player for the doubleheader. ... Reed was optioned to Triple-A between games, and INF Gosuke Katoh was promoted.
Cardinals RHP Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.15 ERA) faces Mets RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 2.66) in the third game of the four-game series Wednesday night.
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