The New York Mets outlasted the Cardinals on what turned out to be a 2-for-1 for fans on a long Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Carlos Martinez, a starter called into emergency relief, gave up a pair of runs in the 18th inning as the Cardinals lost a 3-1. The Cardinals somehow had two days off scheduled this week after the All-Star break and will welcome Monday’s off day.
The game took five hours and 56 minutes and was knotted at 0-0 until both teams scored in the 13th. The Mets had a 1-0 lead and left an all important second run stranded on third. The Cardinals kept the game going when Kolten Wong led off the bottom of 13, with his 10th homer of the season.
The Mets somehow managed to eventually win despite leaving 25 runners on base. New York went 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position. The Mets had 16 hits and 13 walks. The Cardinals walked just five times and had 13 hits.
Martinez, the Cardinals 8th pitcher of the game, was scheduled to start on Tuesday night. He allowed five hits and four walks in four innings.
“We were trying to stay away from Martinez but it got to the point where it was not possible,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We needed him to come in and pitch some tough innings.”
At 18 innings, it was the second-longest game in the Majors this season, behind a 19-inning game between the Yankees and Red Sox in April. It also wasn’t the longest game between the Cardinals and Mets in the past six seasons. On April 17, 2010, New York beat St. Louis, 2-1, in 20 innings at Busch Stadium.
The schedule is favorable for the Cardinals. After the off day Monday, the Cardinals are in Chicago to play the White Sox in two games. Then it’s back home for a Thursday the make-up game with the Royals. The Cardinals then host Atlanta, Cincinnati and Colorado, before going on the road to Cincy and Milwaukee.
Until the Cardinals play the Pirates on August 11th, they will only play one game (vs. the Royals) against a team with a winning record. A span of 19 games, that’s 18 games against teams that are mostly 4th or last in their respective divisions. Only Atlanta is in third place in their division. This next stretch of games could help St. Louis build on their 4.5 game lead.