Jaime Garcia allowed just two runs over six innings in his first start of the season, but Jacob deGrom retired his final 23 batters following a first-inning single, and Lucas Duda hit two long homers to nearly the same spot Thursday during the New York Mets’ 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
In his latest stingy start at Citi Field, deGrom struck out 11 over eight dominant innings. His only blemish was Matt Carpenter’s clean single with one out in the first.
Michael Cuddyer had his first three-hit game of the season and also walked for a perfect day at the plate. John Mayberry Jr. put the slumping Mets lineup on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the fourth.
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom (5-4) posted his fifth double-digit strikeout game and first since Sept. 21 at Atlanta. He entered with a 1.61 ERA in 15 home games, and improved to 10-1 in his past 12 starts at Citi Field.
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Besides the single by Carpenter, the lone Cardinals hitter to reach base was Kolten Wong with a two-out single off Jeurys Familia in the ninth. The lack of offense left Garcia little chance to win his first major league start since last June.
Blown out the previous two nights, New York managed a four-game split in a series that matched the top two pitching staffs in the majors.
Duda’s solo shot off Garcia (0-1) in the sixth cleared the shed-like canopy that shelters visiting relievers behind the 380-foot sign on the right-center fence.
The big slugger did it again in the eighth, hammering Randy Choate’s only pitch for a three-run drive that came down on the canopy roof.
Garcia won 13 games in both 2010 and 2011, helping the Cardinals to a World Series title four years ago. But injuries have derailed his promising career, and he had been sidelined since having thoracic outlet surgery last July to alleviate numbness and tingling in his pitching arm and hand.
Making his first big league appearance since June 20, the 28-year-old lefty struggled with command and flirted with danger throughout the afternoon. But he limited the damage to two runs in seven innings, thanks in large part to four double plays turned behind him.
After pausing on the rubber to gather himself before he was ready to go, Garcia walked his first batter on five pitches. He started each of the initial three innings with a free pass, in fact, but kept the game scoreless.
Garcia walked his second batter in the fourth, and this time it cost him. Duda came around to score on consecutive singles by Cuddyer, Daniel Murphy and Mayberry.
Cardinals: To make room for Garcia, activated from the 15-day disabled list, St. Louis optioned rookie reliever Sam Tuivailala to Triple-A Memphis. … LF Matt Holliday, who has reached base safely in all 38 of his games this season, was rested in favor of Mark Reynolds. All-Star catcher Yadier Molina also got the day off.
Mets: Manager Terry Collins said he thought rehabbing relievers Bobby Parnell (Tommy John surgery) and Vic Black (shoulder, neck) might pitch once more in Florida before moving to Double-A Binghamton. … RHP Dillon Gee (groin strain) was scheduled to make another rehab start Thursday night for Class A St. Lucie at Dunedin. … RF Curtis Granderson was rested against the lefty and replaced by Mayberry. Granderson drew a leadoff walk as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (3-3, 2.96 ERA) starts Friday night against RHP Chris Young (3-0, 0.94) in the opener of a three-game interleague series at AL champion Kansas City. Lynn has won both his starts against AL Central teams this season, allowing one run in 13 1-3 combined innings vs. Cleveland and Detroit.
Mets: Following 4-3 homestand, the Mets play three games in Pittsburgh before returning to Citi Field next week. RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 3.18 ERA) makes his third major league start Friday night, opposing Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (5-2, 2.40) in a juicy matchup of hard-throwing youngsters with high expectations.