New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil celebrates as he slides past St. Louis Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizner for the winning run Monday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
April 26 (UPI) -- The New York Mets were down by two and on their final out -- and then staged an unlikely rally to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, giving a dramatic start to their three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Pinch hitter Dominic Smith brought in the go-ahead score with a two-run, infield single in the 5-2 win Monday in St. Louis.
"I feel like this shows the identity of our team," Smith told reporters. "We are a resilient team. I feel like we are in it until the last pitch of the game.
"It showed our DNA and what we are about."
Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo also drove in two runs. Mets pitcher Max Scherzer allowed just two hits and totaled 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, but was not on record for a decision.
The game was tied 0-0 to start the eighth. The Cardinals then got on the scoreboard when left fielder Tyler O'Neill smacked a two-run single to left field. Mets relief pitcher Trevor May, who replaced Scherzer to start the inning, then retired Nolan Arenado and Corey Dickerson to take the game into the ninth.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso flew out to center field to start the final frame. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar followed with a single. Mets designated hitter Robinson Cano picked up the second out of the inning with a fly ball to left field.
Escobar advanced to second base on a defensive interference call. Mets left fielder Mark Canha singled in the next at-bat. Escobar also scored on the play due to an Arenado throwing error. Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil followed with a double to right field.
Smith came into the game as a pinch hitter for the next at-bat. He smacked a hit just behind first base, but beat the defense to the bag for an infield single. The hustle play gave the Mets a 3-2 edge.
Nimmo smacked the next pitch to right field for a 366-foot, two-run homer for the final scores of the night.
Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. He allowed an Andrew Knizner walk, but then struck out Harrison Bader to earn his second save this season.
Alonso, Escobar and McNeil recorded two hits apiece for the Mets. O'Neill went 1 for 4 and drove in two runs for the Cardinals. Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 2 for 3 in the loss.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings, but was not on record for a decision.
The Cardinals (9-6) host the Mets (13-5) in the second game of the series at 7:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Busch Stadium.