Cespedes HR, Mets top Cards 6-2 for 1st 2-0 start since 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Coming off a 70-92 season, the New York Mets hired a new manager and hoped for better luck this year.
Even though it’s still real early, this is what they envisioned.
Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d’Arnaud homered, Todd Frazier drove in three runs and New York beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 Saturday.
Jacob DeGrom pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Mets opened at 2-0 for the first time since 2013.
And Mickey Callaway became the first Mets skipper to win his first two games since player-manager Joe Torre did it when he took over during the 1977 season.
A very solid start, so far.
“That’s very nice. Big win the other day and wanted to come out here and win again today,” deGrom said.
Callaway showed off some flexibility, putting Asdrubal Cabrera in the leadoff spot after he batted cleanup in the opener. The Elias Sports Bureau said Cabrera was the first player since 1915 to bat cleanup on opening day and then hit leadoff the next game.
Cabrera hit two doubles, too.
D’Arnaud delivered in his first game of the season.
“We’ve got guys that haven’t even played yet that can start and will start on occasion, so getting all of our players in the game and using them all, we have no qualms about that,” Callaway said.
Cabrera began the first with a double off Michael Wacha, Cespedes walked and Jay Bruce grounded into a forceout. Frazier doubled into the left-field corner, with a hustling Bruce beating the throw without a slide.
“Hustling out of the box. Scoring on a base hit or a double,” Frazier said. “We put pressure on other guys. We’re not necessarily stealing but we’re smart baserunners.”
D’Arnaud homered in the fourth and Cespedes made it 4-1 with a drive in the fifth. Cabrera added an RBI double in the eighth.
DeGrom (1-0) struck out five of the first nine Cardinals he faced. He fanned seven in 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run and four hits despite having to fight through some issues.
“I was having a hard time getting a grip on the ball but other than that I was able to keep them off the board, gave them one run,” deGrom said.
Matt Carpenter homered for St. Louis in the eighth. Jeurys Familia got the last four outs for his first save and the 107th of his career, tying Jesse Orosco for third on the Mets’ all-time list.
Wacha (0-1) allowed four runs on five hits and two walks over 4 2/3 frames, walking two and hitting a batter.
“It was pretty rough,” Wacha said. “Just missed too many spots.”
Jose Martinez had an RBI single for the Cardinals and is 5 for 7 this season.
Down by three runs, St. Louis threatened with back-to-back singles to lead off the seventh. After Kolten Wong grounded out against Robert Gsellman, reliever Anthony Swarzak retired pinch-hitter Greg Garcia and Dexter Fowler to strand both runners.
“Today we had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on,” manager Mike Matheny said. “We get an opportunity with guys in scoring position, we got to get a way to get it done. Some days it’s harder than others.”
Frazier had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
LEARNING ON THE JOB
Callaway, who had been the pitching coach in Cleveland, got to experience some NL strategy in this game.
“First double-switch was something that I never had to do, and then I had to do it on-the-fly out on the mound with an injured player,” said a smiling Callaway, who made the move in the eighth to replace an injured Swarzak. “I’m glad I got that right.”
BACKSTOPS WITH BATS
D’Arnaud and fellow catcher Kevin Plawecki are a combined 3 for 6 with a home run, three runs scored, two RBIs and three walks.
“You really can’t ask for anything better,” Callaway said about his catchers’ production. “No matter what you choose that day it’s a good outcome, so that makes it easy on the whole team.”
Cardinals: LHP Brett Cecil (strained left shoulder) was placed on the 10-day DL. The veteran reliever threw 10 pitches on opening day, retiring one batter and allowing a hit. LHP Ryan Sherriff was called up from Triple-A Memphis and gave up one run while getting one out. ... RHP Luke Gregerson (strained left hamstring) has continued throwing and keeping his arm in shape, general manager John Mozeliak said. ... RHP Adam Wainwright (strained left hamstring) is progressing well, per Mozeliak.
Mets: Swarzak was removed with a sore left oblique. “I’ve never felt anything like this in my side before,” he said after the game, noting that no MRI was planned at this point. “Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow and this is just a little scare.”
Cardinals RHP Luke Weaver (7-2, 3.88 ERA in 2017) starts Sunday’s series finale against LHP Steven Matz (2-7, 6.08 ERA).