Through just 2 innings, Lance Lynn had 54 pitches, and due to the early start time (to be on ESPN) leading to sun in Carlos Beltran’s eyes, he had allowed 3 runs. That was not the start the then 5-game winner needed to improve to a 6-game winner in just 8 starts.
However, Lynn showed his maturity over last season and bore down for the long-haul. Post 2nd inning, he did not allow another hit until there were 2 outs in the top of the 7th. He averaged 27 pitches per inning the first 2 innings which could have been disastrous for the bullpen, but he dialed in to average just 14 pitches per inning for the next 5 (final pitch count: 124). Last year’s Lynn would not have been able to recover like this, so it is a terrific sign for the Cardinals if he is able to keep this up throughout the season.
This performance was reminiscent of an outing by a past starter (and hopefully future reliever) that wears #29, the great Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals’ front office along with the fans would gladly welcome Lynn developing into a pitcher like Carpenter (Yes, I understand that there will never be another Carp, which is why I explicitly stated “like Carpenter”).
The team took note of the bulldog performance by Lynn, and the offense felt obligated to do what it could to provide some runs to give Lynn the win. That is exactly what they did in the bottom of the 7th. The inning most likely amounts to nothing if Rick Ankiel’s glove had made the trip from Houston along with him. However, he was forced into borrowing a glove from a teammate–left-handed pitcher, Jonathon Niese.
With 1 out already recorded in the 7th, Ty Wigginton hit a jam-shot to center that fell out of the outstretched glove being worn by Ankiel. With his own glove, this most likely would have been the 2nd out with no runners on; instead, it was 1 out with a runner in scoring position at second base.
The very next pitch, Matt Carpenter smashed a line drive off the leg of pitcher Scott Rice which caused the ball to ricochet into foul territory. Heads-up base running by Wigginton combined with a frazzled pitcher forgetting to cover home plate gave the Cardinals the lead at 4-3. Please see the picture above for visual proof that Wigginton indeed made a game-changing play for the Cardinals. Shocking, I know (sorry to any Wigginton fans out there reading this…if there even are any).
The Mets brought in a reliever (Scott Atchison) in attempt to keep the game at just a 1 run deficit. This attempt ended in about 1.5 seconds: the amount of time it took the rocket off Matt Holliday’s bat to reach the bleachers in left-center. Thus, the Cardinals were now up 6-3 and were able to shut down the Mets in the 8th and 9th to give Lynn his 6th win of the season.
Until next time…