The 2018 Mets are built to hit home runs, and on Saturday, under a beaming early spring sun in Flushing, they got on the board in the dinger department.
Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes smacked the Mets’ first two homers of the year as New York topped the Cardinals, 6-2, at Citi Field. The Mets have now won two straight games to begin the season under first-year manager Mickey Callaway, who continues to push all the right buttons in his rookie campaign.
Jacob deGrom took the hill for his 2018 debut, and while he struggled to keep his pitch count down, the righthander allowed just one earned run over 5.2 innings while striking out seven to improve to 1-0. Robert Gsellman, Anthony Swarzak and Jeurys Familia combined to allow one run over the final 3.1 innings to seal the victory.
D’Arnaud connected on a solo shot in fourth inning. He saw his first action of the season Saturday, after Kevin Plawecki started behind the dish against Carlos Martinez on Opening Day. Cespedes followed with his first home run of the season in the fifth inning.
PLAY OF THE GAME
After batting cleanup in the season opener, second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera surprisingly moved up to leadoff for Saturday’s matinee. The move paid off for Callaway when Cabrera doubled to open the contest. Cespedes then walked before Jay Bruce hit into a fielder’s choice to third, bringing up Todd Frazier, who yanked a two-RBI double down the left-field line to open scoring and put the Mets ahead.
Cespedes’ homer gave the Mets’ a three-run lead, but the Cardinals threatened in the top of the seventh when Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong opened the inning with back-to-back singles off Gsellman before advancing to second and third on a Kolten Wong groundout to first. Callaway then pulled Gsellman in favor of Swarzak, who retired the next two batters to get the Mets out of their biggest jam of the game. Swarzak left the game in the eighth with a sore oblique.
STAR OF THE GAME
Frazier, who led the Mets with three RBI in five plate appearances. The third baseman was hit by a pitch on the knuckle in the fifth inning but stayed in the game. (Honorable mention to Cabrera, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and a run.)
STAT OF THE DAY
DeGrom’s ERA in day games improves to 1.98.
Juan Lagares, who went 2-for-4 with two singles and a run in his first start of 2018. Callaway, again, can do no wrong.
Bruce, who went 0-for-5 and is now 1-for-8 to begin the season.
Sunday, April 1 vs. St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.
LHP Steven Matz (2-7, 6:08 in 2017) vs. RHP Luke Weaver (7-2, 2.88).
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