The St. Louis Cardinals have metaphorically punched back at the New York Mets several times already halfway through a four-game series. How many more times can the Mets, already well-acquainted with absorbing a flurry from their opponents, get up off the canvas?
The Cardinals, bursting with momentum after winning two games in four hours on Friday, will look to continue surging against the host Mets on Saturday night. St. Louis' Michael Wacha (4-2, 5.63 ERA) is scheduled to face New York's Noah Syndergaard (4-4, 4.45 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
The Cardinals capped a productive Friday when Dexter Fowler's three-run homer snapped an eighth-inning tie and lifted St. Louis to a 9-5 win in the regularly scheduled game.
Earlier Friday, the Cardinals completed a comeback two days in the making when Paul DeJong hit an RBI single in the 10th inning to give St. Louis a 5-4 win in the resumption of a game suspended due to rain in the middle of the ninth on Thursday night.
The Cardinals, who were three outs away from falling under .500 when they scored twice as heavy rains fell in the ninth inning Thursday, have instead won back-to-back road games for just the second time since May 1. They can go three games over .500 with a win Saturday. St. Louis hasn't been three games over .500 since it was 23-20 following a loss on May 15.
The win in Friday's regularly scheduled game may have been even more encouraging for the Cardinals, who squandered a 4-1 lead, giving up a run in the fifth and three in the seventh to fall behind 5-4 before DeJong homered on the second pitch thrown by Jeurys Familia in the top of the eighth.
"Punch back after a three-spot," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "That's what good teams do -- they punch back immediately."
The Mets have also shown a knack for bouncing back. They opened May by losing six of eight games before winning three in a row. That streak was followed by a five-game losing streak, which was in turn followed by a 6-1 homestand.
The Mets then went 2-5 on a West Coast road trip that featured epic bullpen meltdowns on May 29, when the Los Angeles Dodgers scored six runs in the final three innings to earn a 9-8 win, and June 1, when the Arizona Diamondbacks overcame a pair of four-run deficits in a 6-5 victory in 11 innings.
New York entered Thursday with five wins in seven games before closer Edwin Diaz gave up the runs in the ninth inning and the go-ahead run in Friday's 10th inning. The Mets' bullpen ERA increased to 5.29 after giving up five runs in the final two innings in Friday's scheduled game.
"I think in the moment, obviously, it kind of brings you down," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "But the one thing I've noticed about this team -- I'm sure you've noticed it, too -- (is) they don't give up. We were down tonight, we come back, we score three runs, put us ahead. And obviously we give them right back.
"I'm sure everybody's feeling pretty crappy right now, but they'll come in (Saturday) like they always do and go out there and battle and grind away."
Wacha returned to the rotation on Monday, when he earned the win by tossing six scoreless innings in the Cardinals' 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. The 28-year-old made two relief appearances after posting a 6.64 ERA in four May starts.
Syndergaard had one of the best starts of his career last Sunday, when he earned the win by tossing seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball as the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1. It was just the second time in 100 starts that Syndergaard has limited an opponent to one hit over six or more innings.
Wacha is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets. Syndergaard is 1/3 with a 3.73 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals.
--Field Level Media
Cardinals ready to continue fight vs. Mets
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