Lyons is solid in season debut but Cards’ bats offer no support

Tyler Lyons gives up two runs over six innings, strikes out seven and takes the loss in his first start of the season for St. Louis.

 

Noah K. Murray/Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have been high on the prospects of right-hander Jenrry Mejia for years. He showed why Monday night when he worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings to deal the Cardinals a 2-0 defeat.

Mejia, 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA, struck out seven and didn’t allow a Cardinal to reach second base until the sixth inning. The Cardinals, however, haven’t been hitting anyone much lately. Only three Cardinals had hits, though Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig and Yadier Molina all had two.

In splitting the first eight games on this trip, the Cardinals have been shut out, held to one run twice and to a pair of runs once. They have won the four games when they scored at least four runs.

3 UP

— Tyler Lyons. The lefty fill-in filled in fine, giving up just two runs and striking out seven in six innings. He should have fared even better. The Mets scored their first run in the third on a two-out, broken-bat single by David Wright that followed a walk and hit batter. Their other run came after David Murphy stole third when Matt Carpenter didn’t get down the tag on a strong throw from Yadier Molina. Lyons is expected to make at least one more start, which would be Saturday at home against the Pirates, before Joe Kelly comes off the disabled list.

— Allen Craig. After a two-hit night that included a double over the center fielder’s head, don’t be surprised if Craig is back in the cleanup spot in the very near future. With a hit in nine of his past 10 games, Craig almost has his average up to .200, lifting it from .088 to .197.

— Eric Fornataro. In his big-league debut, the 26-year-old right-hander pitched a three-up, three-down eighth to keep the Cardinals close. Fornataro, a sixth-round pick in 2008, was called up last Thursday but went unused in a four-game series against the Nationals.

3 DOWN

— Batting average with RISP.  For a team hitting .240 overall, a .232 average with RISP is about what the statheads would expect. But it’s way, way off last year’s .330 mark, and the lack of timely hitting hurt the Cardinals’ chances for success against the Mets. They went 0 for 5 as the middle of the order let them down. Both Matt Holliday and Matt Adams failed in two chances with RISP, which included a strikeout by both in the eighth inning when both swung at pitches well out of the zone for strike three.

— Pinch-hitters. Not many Cardinals are hitting and that includes the bench players. When Shane Robinson grounded out with two on in the seventh, it dropped the batting average of St. Louis pinch-hitters to .150 (3 for 20) on the season with no RBIs. Those three young outfielders in Memphis, by the way, all are hitting.

— Adam Wainwright versus the Mets. His NLCS-clinching curveball in 2006 will make up for just about any struggles the tall right-hander ever has against the Mets. Which is good, because Wainwright has not pitched with much success against the Mets. Going into his start at Citi Field on Tuesday night, he is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts against the Mets. One of the wins, however, came in his most recent start in New York when he worked seven scoreless innings last June.

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.