Mets-Cardinals was billed as a possible resumption of the hostilities the teams shared during a benches-clearing brawl in St. Louis on April 27, the lasting memory of which was 5-foot-8 St. Louis coach Stubby Clapp throwing Pete Alonso to the ground.
There were no fisticuffs in Tuesday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. Just a couple of hard-fought games and a split decision.
The Mets won the opener, 3-1, behind fill-in starter Trevor Williams’ four shutout innings.
The Cardinals took the nightcap, 4-3, scoring the tie-breaking run on an infield single in the ninth. Eduardo Escobar double-clutched on the slow roller.
St. Louis thwarted a Mets’ rally attempt in the bottom half as Mark Canha and Francisco Lindor struck out with two men on for the final outs.
The Mets also lost Brandon Nimmo to a right quadriceps injury after he fouled a ball of his leg in the seventh inning of Game 2.
Nimmo stayed in and finished the at-bat, grounding out to short and not being able to run full speed. He was in pain, left the game and was replaced on defense in the top of the eighth.
Manager Buck Showalter, who said Nimmo is “day-to-day,” added: “I hope it’s just a short time.”
Nimmo, who has had multiple injuries in his career and has not been the quickest healer, said X-rays were negative and that he hopes to be able to play on Wednesday. The Mets were without rightfielder Starling Marte, who was placed on the bereavement list after the death of his grandmother.
“I’m all right,” Nimmo said. “I hit that ball off my knee and it kind of like got the quad and adductor. So when I went to run and beat that (grounder) out, it just wouldn’t fire . . . It feels all right now. I’ve just got a lump on it. We’ll just take it day-to-day and see how it is in the morning.”
After Monday’s rainout, this was already the Mets’ fourth doubleheader of the season. They swept the first two and have split the last two.
Alonso was the designated hitter in Game 1, so the first time he came into contact with Clapp – the St. Louis first-base coach -- was in the top the first inning of Game 2 when Alonso went to his position.
Alonso looked over to Clapp and made an air first-bump motion. Clapp returned the gesture.
The Mets had already won the opener as Williams, who was taking the spot of the injured Tylor Megill, did his job and more in his second start and longest outing of the season.
Williams succeeded by throwing strikes: 46 of his season-high 65 pitches (70.7%). He allowed four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six.
“That was really good,” Showalter said. “That was a shot in the arm.”
Jake Reed threw a pair of scoreless innings before Showalter was able to get to the bullpen big boys. Seth Lugo, Drew Smith and Edwin Diaz (ninth save) each threw an inning, with only Smith allowing a run.
Reed picked up his first big-league win in his season debut by overcoming a pair of walks in the fifth. With the tying run at the plate, Reed struck out Paul Goldschmidt and got Nolan Arenado on a fly ball to left. Reed was sent back to Triple-A Syracuse between games.
It was Arenado who ignited the April 27 fracas when he got upset over an up-and-in pitch from reliever Yoan Lopez after the Mets had been plunked four times in two games by St. Louis pitchers.
In the nightcap, the Cardinals scored the tie-breaking run in the ninth on a two-out infield single by Tyler O’Neill. Escobar double-clutched on the slow roller and O’Neill was able to beat it out.
“That’s not what beat us,” Showalter said. “We had 10 other things that we could have (done to) not (have) made it matter.”
A passed ball by Tomas Nido two batters earlier had advanced the runner to third. The Mets went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base, to mention three things.
Taijuan Walker started the nightcap and allowed three runs in five innings. Former Met Steven Matz started for the Cardinals and was charged with two runs in five innings on home runs by Canha (first inning) and Escobar (fourth).