A strong start by Max Scherzer, a five-run ninth inning and positive news on the health of Jacob deGrom made for a great Monday.
ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Dominic Smith hustled for an infield single that drove in two pivotal runs, and the Mets capitalized on an uncharacteristic error by Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado to rally for five unearned runs with two outs in the ninth inning of a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
After the hit by Smith gave the Mets the lead, Brandon Nimmo capped the outburst with a two-run homer.
Max Scherzer had struck out 10 over seven innings of two-hit ball in a scoreless duel with Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas. A two-run single by Tyler O’Neill off Trevor May (1-0) put St. Louis ahead in the eighth.
The Mets were down to their final strike when Mark Canha hit a grounder to third. Arenado, awarded a Gold Glove in each of his nine major league seasons, fielded the ball cleanly behind the bag but took his time making an off-balance throw to first.
The ball sailed high for an error that allowed Eduardo Escobar to score from second, making it 2-1. Canha was credited with an infield single.
Jeff McNeil doubled, sending pinch-runner Travis Jankowski to third, and Smith hit a sharp one-hopper that was snagged by sprawling first baseman Paul Goldschmidt behind the bag.
But closer Giovanny Gallegos (0-1) was late covering first, and Smith beat him to the bag with a headfirst dive. McNeil never stopped coming around third and slid in safely at the plate ahead of Gallegos’ throw, giving the fired-up Mets a 3-2 lead.
Nimmo then lofted the first pitch from lefty reliever T.J. McFarland over the fence in the right-field corner.
Edwin Díaz got three outs for his second save, rebounding after he gave up a tying homer with two outs in the ninth inning Friday night at Arizona.
Pitching in his hometown, Scherzer reached double digits in strikeouts for the 106th time — which ranks fifth on the career chart. In his first season with the Mets since signing a $130 million, three-year contract, the three-time Cy Young Award winner has 33 strikeouts and eight walks in 25 innings.
DeGrom Said to Have ‘Considerable Healing’
After the game, the Mets said injured ace Jacob deGrom had an M.R.I. and CT scan that “revealed considerable healing of the stress reaction on his scapula.” The two-time Cy Young Award winner was cleared to begin “loading and strengthening” of his right shoulder and will undergo another M.R.I. in about three weeks. He is expected to be sidelined until at least June.