Gray pitches Cardinals past scuffling Mets 7-4 for their first 3-game win streak of season

NEW YORK (AP) — Sonny Gray extended his terrific start with St. Louis, Paul Goldschmidt hit an early two-run double and the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 7-4 on Saturday for their first three-game win streak this season.

“It’s starting to come together and they’re throwing together and stringing together some really quality at-bats,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.

Ryan Helsley retired Francisco Lindor on a bases-loaded popup for the final out. Lindor struck out his previous four times up.

Nolan Arenado and rookie Masyn Winn each had an RBI single during a four-run first against struggling Mets newcomer Adrian Houser. Nolan Gorman added an RBI double in the third.

“You win a game last night and you come back today and you jump on them early. It sets the tone for the game,” Gray said. “From there it was just trying to attack, attack, attack as much as I can.”

Pete Alonso hit his 200th home run for the Mets in his 710th career game. He became the fourth-fastest player in major league history to reach the milestone behind Ryan Howard (658 games), Aaron Judge (671) and Ralph Kiner (706), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Really special moment,” said Alonso, given the souvenir ball after it landed in the Mets' bullpen in right-center. “That's really kind of mind-boggling. I mean, that's really cool.”

Gray (3-1) gave up one earned run and four hits over six innings, improving to 4-0 in four career starts against the Mets. He struck out nine and has a 1.16 ERA in 23 2/3 innings for the Cardinals after beginning the season on the injured list with a right hamstring strain.

“It's been pretty impressive,” Marmol said.

Gray has 32 strikeouts, most in franchise history through four starts with the team. The three-time All-Star signed a $75 million, three-year contract with St. Louis after finishing second in AL Cy Young Award voting last year with Minnesota.

“He threw disappearing pitches,” Lindor said.

JoJo Romero and Andrew Kittredge each worked a scoreless inning, setting up Helsley for his ninth save.

Brendan Donovan had two doubles and a sacrifice fly for the Cardinals, who have won four of five.

“It was cold and crappy but we did a great job,” Donovan said. “I think we went out there and we attacked the starter.”

Houser (0-3) was tagged for six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, leaving him with an 8.37 ERA after five starts with the Mets. He was booed by the crowd of 32,332. Josh Walker balked home a run in the fifth.

“The way I’m pitching right now is pretty unacceptable. I need to be better. Can’t be putting these guys in a hole right in the beginning of the game,” Houser said. “The game has punched me in the mouth. I've got to find a way to respond and punch back.”

Brandon Nimmo had a two-run single and Alonso hit a two-run drive in the fifth as the Mets, debuting their City Connect uniforms, shaved a six-run deficit to 6-4. It was the first home run allowed by Gray this year. The inning began with an uncharacteristic error by Arenado, a 10-time Gold Glove winner at third base.

New York has dropped five of six following a six-game win streak.

J.D. Martinez went 1 for 4 with a single and three strikeouts in his second game with the Mets. Lindor struck out four times for the fourth time in his career.

“I've got to put the ball in play,” said Lindor, batting .198 this season. “It's an uphill fight for me. Just got to keep grinding.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Arenado was shaken up in the seventh after his foul ball bounced up and struck him in the face. He stayed in the game. ... RHP Keynan Middleton (forearm flexor strain) is still more than a week from throwing a bullpen.

Mets: RHP Drew Smith (shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to April 24. RF Starling Marte was placed on the bereavement list. He is expected to miss three days. INF Mark Vientos and RHP Dedniel Núñez were recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. ... RHP Tylor Megill (shoulder strain) struck out all six batters he faced in his first rehab start for Class A Brooklyn.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 2.81 ERA) opposes LHP Jose Quintana (1-2, 4.21) in the series finale Sunday.

Lynn hasn't faced the Mets since July 2017 and seeks his first career win at Citi Field. Quintana was 3-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts for St. Louis in 2022 after being acquired from Pittsburgh at the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

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