After three games last month in Missouri, the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets looked at one another and saw enemies.
After two games Tuesday afternoon, the Cardinals and Mets might have looked at one another and wondered if they were staring at a mirror.
The Cardinals and Mets will eachbe aiming to take the series lead Wednesday night, when St. Louis visits New York in the third contest of a four-game set.
Jordan Hicks (1-3, 4.15 ERA) is slated to start for the Cardinals against Max Scherzer (4-1, 2.66) in a battle of right-handers.
The teams split a doubleheader Tuesday. Five Mets pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 3-1 win in the opener. Tyler O'Neill salvaged his day by beating out the tie-breaking RBI infield single in the top of the ninth to lift the Cardinals to a 4-3 victory in the nightcap.
Nolan Arenado -- who was ejected following a bench-clearing skirmish in the teams' series finale in St. Louis on April 27 -- was booed every time he stepped to the plate Tuesday. However, peace appeared to be brokered when New York first baseman Pete Alonso and St. Louis first base coach Stubby Clapp exchanged nods in the first inning of the second game. Clapp tackled Alonso from behind during the fracas 20 days earlier.
On Tuesday, the Mets and Cardinals were linked by their grinding and persistent approach at the plate. The two teams combined to throw 618 pitches -- 311 by St. Louis and 307 by New York.
The hit by O'Neill -- who struck out six times, the most in franchise history in a doubleheader -- capped a Cardinals' rally that consisted of two walks, a stolen base and a passed ball.
The Mets almost came back in the bottom of the ninth, when Dominic Smith drew a one-out walk and Luis Guillorme singled before Giovanny Gallegos struck out Mark Canha and Francisco Lindor.
"This club -- you look at it, they're not going to give in," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. "There are days when we sit here and scratch our head (and say), 'Where is the offense going to come from?' But these guys aren't going to give in and that's to their credit."
The Mets appeared on their way to a fruitful afternoon and evening when they took a 3-0 lead in the third inning of the opener. But New York got just three hits in the final six innings of its win and stranded eight runners, including five in scoring position, in the nightcap.
"We had some opportunities," Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "We just couldn't cash them in."
Hicks took the defeat last Friday, when he allowed three runs over five innings as the Cardinals fell to the San Francisco Giants, 8-2. Scherzer didn't factor into the decision last Friday after giving up one run over seven innings in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Hicks is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in six career games (one start) against the Mets.
Scherzer is 4-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 14 starts versus the Cardinals.
--Field Level Media