McNeil, Smith doubles, Trevor Williams opening lift Mets over Cardinals in first leg of doubleheader

Dom Smith Mets Cardinals
May 17, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (2) slides safely in to second for an RBI double during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Run-scoring doubles from Jeff McNeil and Dom Smith lifted the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon in the first game of their doubleheader from Citi Field. 

Both McNeil and Smith recorded two hits on the day — the former raising his season average to a team-leading .314. So did Eduardo Escobar, the slumping third baseman who hadn’t had a multi-hit game since May 1. 

New York managed to blank the Cardinals thanks to a strong opening effort from reliever Trevor Williams, who went four innings of scoreless ball while striking out six to fill in for a shorthanded starting rotation while preserving the rest of the bullpen for the final three games of the four-game set.

“That was really good,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “That was a shot in the arm… Once he’s gotten consistent work, he’s been throwing pretty good.”

After allowing seven earned runs in his first 7.1 innings of work this season, Williams has now pitched 7.2 scoreless innings.

The Mets loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs but only managed to get one run out of it from Travis Jankowski’s RBI fielder’s choice. A pop-out from Patrick Mazeika before a long Brandon Nimmo flyout to left field limited the frame. 

Williams escaped a sizable jam in the top of the third when the Cardinals put runners at the corners with one out. But the opener managed to get through the meat of the order without a scratch, coaxing a Paul Goldschmidt flyout and a Nolan Arenado strikeout. 

“It was really Mazeika,” Williams said, crediting the Mets’ catcher in Game 1. “Coming in as a third catcher and getting thrown into it is a testament to the type of player he is and how much he prepares. We were on the same page all day. We were utilizing what was working for me today.”

With the momentum, the Mets managed to get a crooked number up in the second. After Francisco Lindor reached on an error, McNeil doubled him home for his 15th RBI of the season. He was later driven in by Smith’s second hit of the day and New York’s second double of the inning to make it 3-0.

Jake Reed, who relieved Williams, ran into similar trouble that Williams encountered when he walked two and faced the very same heart of the Cardinals order with just one out. But like Williams, Reed got through it, striking out Goldschmidt before getting Arenado to fly out. 

Goldschmidt did get the Cardinals on the board in the eighth inning, but his damage was done with no men on — a solo shot off Drew Smith bringing St. Louis to within two, but that was as close as they’d get. Edwin Diaz yet picked up his ninth save of the season, striking out all three batters he faced to work around a Tyler O’Neill single and Brendan Donovan walk. 

“I’m glad I was able to contribute and for the guys behind me shutting the door,” Williams said. “Getting that first win of a doubleheader is big for us and I’m appreciative of that.”

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