By Mike Steffanos
Mets 6 - Cardinals 2
The Mets received a well-pitched game from fill-in starter Dave Williams and another home run from the hot Carlos Delgado to complete a sweep of the free-falling Cardinals. It was their seventh win in a row and eleventh straight win at home.
It took the Mets a while to get going against Cardinals starter Jason Marquis, as a pair of double plays bailed him out in the first two innings. They broke through in the third when Lo Duca tripled (on a brutal misplay by Preston Wilson) to bring Jose Reyes, and added a couple more on David Wright's long sac fly and Shawn Green's RBI single.
Dave Williams did a great job of mixing his pitches, including a very good curveball, and kept St. Louis off the board until the fifth. A leadoff single to Aaron Miles and a home run by the light-hitting Gary Bennett cut the Mets lead to 3-2. The homer came on a decent low fastball by Bennett.
The Mets answered right back in the bottom of the fifth when Delgado blasted a 2-run shot beyond the bullpen in right field to put the Mets back up 5-2. Williams came back with a perfect sixth, but ran into trouble in the seventh. Aaron Miles led off with a single, and one out later pinch hitter Scott Spiezio doubled to RF. With Williams over 100 pitches and right-handers Belliard and Taguchi due up, Willie countered with Roberto Hernandez out of the 'pen. Displaying a terrific splitter tonight, Bert retired Belliard on a foul out to Wright and struck out Taguchi.
Hernandez came back out for the eighth and retired Pujols, Rolen and Encarnacion to complete his impressive night. Reyes singled home Valentin in the bottom of the eigth to put the Mets up by 4, 6-2. With no save opportunity, Willie went with Guillermo Mota to close it out. Mota pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strikeouts to complete a very impressive win.
Thoughts on the game
I don't think Dave Williams would be in the running for a post-season start, but he's done a good job in his 2 fill-ins, so let's do a chart for him:
It certainly is impressive for someone of which nothing was expected. He's thrown strikes, he's been aggressive. I can see this guy either being used as a chip by Omar this winter, or being used in a reliever/spot starter type of role next year. He's a solid pitcher, has a clue what he wants to do, and he's not afraid to aggressively challenge major league hitters. A useful pitcher, and a solid pickup by Omar. Hernandez and Mota were terrific out of the bullpen, saving Willie from having to go to Heilman and Wagner again.
The defense was outstanding tonight, with Wright and Chavez contributing several really nice plays. Wright finally had a decent offensive game to try to build on with 1 for 3 and that sac fly. He looked a little more comfortable. Lo Duca continues to amaze, his 2-4 lifting his average up to .312. Reyes' 3-5 pushed his average up to .297. Cold stat types may not love him, but Mets fans do.
The Mets are skipping El Duque's start tomorrow and using Brian Bannister, while Oliver Perez is the likely candidate to fill in for Glavine on Saturday. I make nothing more of the El Duque thing as giving his arm a rest. He's already surpassed last year's innings total. Milledge has been sent down to make room for Bannister. He'll likely return September 1.
The Mets are now 30 games over .500 at 78-48.
This game is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.