It may be a little early to dive headlong into the MLB season, but those who waited have missed a classic day.
It starts in St. Louis, with a 2-1 Mets’ win over the Cardinals in 20 innings. That’s right, I said 20. And as a fan of the Cardinals, I was duty-bound to watch every second (except for the three 10-minute naps I took in innings eight, 11, and 13).
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Here are some notes for what you missed (and we’ve got 20 innings to recap, so we’ll be here a while):
– The game was scoreless for the first 18 innings, the longest scoreless game in 21 years.
– The Mets broke through in the 19th inning with a sacrifice fly from Jeff Francoeur, which was answered by an RBI single by Yadier Molina. Jose Reyes hit a sac fly in the 20th to earn the win for the Mets.
– Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia carried a no-hitter through the first five innings. He gave up one hit through seven innings, and was watched by seven shutout innings from two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana.
– The Mets had one hit (an Angel Pagan single to lead off the sixth) in the first 11 innings.
– The Mets didn’t get a runner to third base until the 16th inning.
– The game finished with Joe Mather, a back-up outfielder/infielder, taking the loss for the Cardinals after giving up one run each in the 19th and 20th innings. He threw just 14 strikes in 38 pitches and walked three.
– Mather relieved infielder Felipe Lopez, who started at shortstop and moved to third base, after the utilityman pitched a scoreless 18th inning. Kyle Lohse was brought into play left field for the last three innings.
– Francisco Rodriguez got the win despite blowing the chance for a save in his first chance of the year. Mike Pelfrey earned the first save of his career in his third relief appearance.
– The Mets used 24 of the 25 players on their roster (everyone but last night’s starting pitcher Oliver Perez). The Cardinals used 22 (Adam Wainwright, Brad Penny, and Chris Carpenter. I guess if you finish in the top three in Cy Young voting, you get the day off.)
– The Cardinals left 16 men on base…in extra innings!! They left 22 on for the game.
– The Cardinals’ real bullpen (i.e. not Mather and Lopez) pitchers allowed just five hits and two walks in 10 innings pitched. The Mets’ pen allowed 11 hits and 10 walks in 13 innings of work.
– Pagan was the offensive “star” for the Metropolitans, going 3-6 with a run scored.
– Molina went 3-9 for the Cardinals with the lone RBI.
– Francoeur was riding a 10-game hitting streak entering the game. He had seven opportunities to extend it, but went 0-7. He entered hitting .457, and finished with a .381 batting average.
– Jason Bay took home the Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts in seven at bats. Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick, and Skip Schumaker each had three.
– Time of game was 6 hours, 53 minutes.
– Molina caught all 20 innings and received 311 pitches. The two teams combined to throw 651 pitches.
– It was hardly Tony La Russa’s day for managerial decisions:
He made a double switch in the 10th in which Mitchell Boggs came into pitch, replacing Holliday in the cleanup spot.
In the 12th, the four-hole came up with the bases loaded and two outs after Albert Pujols was intentionally walked. Instead of using backup catcher Bryan Anderson, he opted to let pitcher Jason Motte bat, resulting in a strikeout.
In the 14th, Pujols was again given a free pass with runners on second and third, and La Russa chose to let Blake Hawksworth hit for himself, also striking out.
He finally did pull the trigger and let Anderson (his last bench player) hit in the 16th with runners on first and second and one out, and he bounced into a double play. (In La Russa’s defense, Anderson and Motte entered the game with the same number of Major League at bats: 1.)
– In the bottom of the 19th, Ludwick—the potential tying run—was caught stealing second on a botched hit-and-run with Pujols at the plate in what was a questionable call. Pujols proceeded to hit a double and come around to score on a Molina single.
– Wainwright and Molina received their Gold Gloves prior to the game
– Matthew De George ’10