The New York Mets scored five runs in the fifth inning to break open a tie game Thursday and right-hander Noah Syndergaard became just the second pitcher in franchise history to record at least 10 strikeouts on Opening Day in a 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.
The Mets, playing their first game under new manager Mickey Callaway, improved to 37-20 on Opening Day - the best winning percentage (.649) in baseball. The Cardinals fell to 58-67-2 in season openers.
Adrian Gonzalez produced the go-ahead hit in the fifth with a one-out RBI single for the Mets. Amed Rosario laced a two-run single three batters later and Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce added run-scoring singles later in the frame, during which New York sent 10 batters to the plate.
Cespedes also had a two-run single in the second while Kevin Plawecki had two hits, including an RBI single in the eighth. Gonzalez, Rosario, Cespedes, Kevin Plawecki and Brandon Nimmo each had two hits. Nimmo reached base three times in four plate appearances out of the leadoff spot.
Syndergaard, who missed almost five months last season with a torn right lat, allowed four runs on six hits and no walks while striking out 10. He is the first Mets pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters on Opening Day since Pedro Martinez whiffed 12 in 2005.
Robert Gsellman, Anthony Swarzak and Jeurys Familia combined for three hitless innings of relief.
Jose Martinez went 3-for-4 with an RBI single in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth for the Cardinals, who took a brief lead on Yadier Molina’s two-run homer in the second inning.
Carlos Martinez took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits and six walks while striking out five over 4 1/3 innings.
A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of Rusty Staub, a former Mets player and team ambassador who died at the age of 73 early Thursday morning.
— Field Level Media