The shortest game of the season for the New York Mets provided them a blueprint for climbing back into contention
The shortest game of the season for the St. Louis Cardinals symbolized why one of the major leagues' most successful franchises might end up enduring its longest campaign in more than a century
Kodai Senga (6-3, 3.34 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against Adam Wainwright (2-1, 5.79) in a battle of right-handers
The Mets built their first winning streak in more than two weeks on Friday night when Tylor Megill and two relievers combined on a five-hitter and Brett Baty laced a two-run, first-inning double that allowed New York to pull away early in a 6-1 victory
The game lasted just 2 hours, 1 minute -- the Mets' shortest nine-inning game since they fell to the Miami Marlins 3-0 in just 1:59 on May 19, 2019
More important for the Mets, they improved to 19-1 this season when their starting pitcher lasts at least six innings. They are 14-35 in all other games
Megill, who entered Friday 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA in his previous four starts, allowed one run on four hits over six innings. He helped the Mets win consecutive games for the first time since sweeping a three-game series from the Philadelphia Phillies from May 30-June 1
The Mets are still just 4-9 in June
"A lot of good things, but it starts with starting pitching," Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "I try to quit not thinking that six (innings) is deep, but I've changed my thinking. I'm OK with that.
Before the Cardinals played their shortest game since June 9, 2022 -- a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays that lasted just 1:54 -- manager Oliver Marmol expressed hope that his skidding team would be something close to OK sooner than later
"We could talk for days about what our season's looked like and I'll answer them, because it's my job to," Marmol said. "But I'm looking forward to today and what we are capable of doing moving forward."
But even a much-needed, mini-breakout game for struggling catcher Willson Contreras -- who homered in his first two-hit game since May 18 -- did little to help St. Louis, which fell to 2-11 this month.
Contreras' fifth-inning homer was one of just two extra-base hits for the Cardinals. Jordan Walker followed the round-tripper with a double but was thrown out trying to steal third for the second out of the frame
St. Louis has the worst record in the National League, 27-43 -- nearly a 100-loss pace over a full season for a franchise that hasn't finished at the bottom in its division since 1990 and hasn't lost 100 or more games since going 49-105 in 1908.
Senga earned the win in his most recent outing on June 10, when he allowed only an unearned run and two hits over seven innings as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1. He has never opposed the Cardinals
Wainwright didn't factor into the decision on Sunday after surrendering three runs over 5 2/3 innings in the Cardinals' 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He is 7-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 16 regular season games (14 starts) against the Mets
In addition, as a 25-year-old rookie closer in 2006, Wainwright tossed three scoreless innings of relief in three appearances and earned the saves in Game 5 and Game 7 of the NL Championship Series against New York.
--Field Level Media