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Friday May 7th, 2021 9:15PM

Wainwright, Cards win 5th in row; Mets fire hitting coaches

By The Associated Press
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright came off the COVID-19 injured list and hung tough, St. Louis got a lights-out performance from its bullpen and the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 6-5 Monday night for their fifth straight win.

The Cardinals were clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth with two outs and a runner on base when the lights at Busch Stadium flickered, then went out for a moment.

“Thank God a pitch wasn't in mid-flight or a ball wasn't going in the air for a flyball or something like that to end the game," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “I have no explanation for it.”

When play resumed, reliever Alex Reyes walked Pete Alonso before retiring Dominic Smith on a flyball for the final out.

After the game, the Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater. New York has struggled badly with runners in scoring position this season, a trouble spot last year as well when Davis worked remotely because of coronavirus concerns.

Several accomplished hitters are off to slow starts for the Mets, including $341 million newcomer Francisco Lindor.

“It was a difficult decision to make,” acting general manager Zack Scott said. “It’s not about 23 games of results.

“We just felt like the players needed a different level of support and maybe some different skills brought into the mix.”

Nolan Arenado and Harrison Bader homered to back Wainwright's first win of the season. Four Cardinals relievers combined for 3 1/3 hitless innings.

Wainwright (1-3) had been out because of virus contact tracing. He fell behind 5-2 in the third inning, but didn't give up any more runs before leaving with two outs in the sixth.

“The boys just picked me up tonight,” Wainwright said. “It was a huge win for our team. They did it because I did not. I was terrible.”

Genesis Cabrera and Giovanny Gallegos combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Reyes worked around a pair of walks in the ninth to earn his eighth save — he has not allowed an earned run in 14 1/3 innings this season.

Joey Lucchesi (0-2) allowed six runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings after being recalled from the Mets' alternate training site to make the start. He has not pitched into the fourth inning in any of his three starts this season.

“It’s a little different for me,” Lucchesi said. “Usually once the season starts you get that fifth day start. I’m just trying my best to adapt to it. I don’t want to give any excuses.”

Smith drove in a run on a groundout and Kevin Pillar hit a two-run homer to put the Mets up in the third.

Arenado answered with a three-run drive in the bottom half to make it 5-all. His fifth home run of the season landed in the left-field bullpen. Paul DeJong and Tyler O’Neill followed with doubles to put St. Louis ahead.

“There' s just no quit in this group,” Arenado said. “We just competed our butts off and that was it. Waino gave us everything he had.”

Bader hit a 450-foot home run to the left field bleachers, a solo drive that made it 2-all in the second. He connected a day after hitting his first homer of the season.

Tommy Edman led off the first inning with a triple and scored on Dylan Carlson’s sacrifice fly.

Wainwright hit Tomás Nido in the elbow with the bases loaded to tie it in the second. Two batters later, Jeff McNeil walked to put the Mets up 2-1.

BIG NUMBER

Wainwright reached 1,000 strikeouts at the current Busch Stadium when he fanned Smith in the second inning. Wainwright is the first Cardinals pitcher to have 1,000 strikeouts at a home ballpark and 24th in major league history to accomplish the feat.

“I've just been really blessed to play here my whole career,” Wainwright said. “It just doesn't happen very often anymore.”

STARTERS ACTIVATED

Mets: LHP Daniel Zamora was optioned to the alternate training site to make room for Lucchesi.

Cardinals: OF Austin Dean was optioned to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Wainwright.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Edwin Díaz said he was feeling better after experiencing back tightness in his outing Sunday night against Philadelphia.

“I went out, I threw, I feel much better,” Díaz said through an interpreter. “I feel like I have more power. I’m able to finish my pitches when I’m throwing so it does look good for tomorrow or the next day.”

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina continues to recover from a strained tendon in his right foot. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said Molina will be re-evaluated in the next few days to determine when he can return to baseball activities.

UP NEXT

The Mets send RHP Jacob deGrom (2-2, 0.51 ERA) to the mound. deGrom’s 59 strikeouts are tied with Nolan Ryan for the most all-time through a pitcher’s first five starts. The Cardinals plan to counter with RHP Johan Oviedo (0-0, 2.79 ERA), who needs to be added to the active roster after having been optioned out on April 28.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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