For the second time in two nights the red clad fans at Busch in St. Louis were treated to a 7th inning Redbird rally against the once again disastrous Mets bullpen.
What started out as a 3 run lead for the Cards after 2 innings thanks in large part to a David Freese 2 run triple in the first off Mets rookie righthander Chris Schwindon evaporated into a 4-3 deficit in the top of the 3rd. All four unearned Mets runs scored after a Rafael Furcal error allowed Angel Pagan to reach following Schwindon’s single (his first MLB hit) and a double by Jose Reyes. Schwindon and Reyes scored on the error and David Wright followed with a single for his only hit on the night. Pagan and Wright would score as Josh Satin proceeded to double home the first two RBI of his MLB career, batting for Lucas Duda, who injured himself (dizziness) crashing into the right field bullpen fence in the first chasing Albert Pujols’ double.
The game moved smoothly until the seventh when Miguel Batista replaced Schwindon to face the Cards following a fine rendition of “Take Me out to the Ballgame” by a local school chorus during the seventh inning stretch. At this point I turned to the cantankerous Redbird fans around me saying “well let’s see if he’s still mad at the Cards for releasing him” while acknowledging the fact that the Mets bullpen is the clubs most vulnerable spot to say the least. The former Pirate, Marlin, Cub, Expo, Royal, D-Back, Blue Jay, Mariner, National and Cardinal (journeyman might have been a shorter description) retired the first 2 hitters before Albert Pujols singled to center for his second hit of the night, raising his average to .305. This sparked the crowd as Batista was replaced by Daniel Herrera. The long haired reliever promptly allowed a single to Lance Berkman with David Freese set to come to the plate. Mets skipper Terry Collins then replaced Herrera with Pedro Beato. Beato quickly fell behind Freese 3-1 and before I could utter the words “here we go again”, Freese deposited the Mets latest version of “Perpetual” Pedro’s (Pedro Feliciano played the role of the seeming daily reliever the past few seasons in New York) 3-1 offering into the seats, down and to the left of my perch in right field for his 10th homer of the year, giving him 5 RBI on the night and the Redbirds a 6-4 lead.
Cards starter Jaime Garcia got the first 2 outs of the Mets eighth before manager Tony LaRussa brought in closer, Jason Motte for a 4 out save opportunity. Motte got David Wright to strike out for the second time on the night for the final out of the eighth and allowed a 2 out solo homer to Willie Harris in the ninth that cut the lead to 6-5 before completing his 8th save of the year by striking out Breese, Illinois’ Josh Thole to give the Cards a huge come from behind win that puts them just a game and half behind the Braves, who were shut out by the Marlins, in the NL Wild Card race.
As I exited the ballpark, I was thanked profusely by Redbird fans and ushers for the second night in succession as I proudly sported my Mets jacket and cap.
I’ll be back at the ballpark by the arch for today’s series finale with the Mets as the Redbirds look to pick up that ½ game in the Wild Card race with the Braves idle on Thursday. This will likely be my final Busch appearance of the year unless Atlanta continues their freefall and the Cards can somehow manage to pull off what was thought impossible a month ago, and snag a trip to the postseason.
Chris Capuano will try to help the Mets avoid the series sweep facing St. Louis’ Jake Westbrook in today’s matinee.
For One Last Time in 2011 …Let’s Go Mets...but It’s OK if Cards WIN…….