NEW YORK — Lance Lynn began the day as the greatest April pitcher in major league history.
He ended it with a blown lead and a discouraging loss.
Chris Young homered to start New York’s comeback and slumping Curtis Granderson singled in a run as a pinch hitter Thursday, helping Bartolo Colon and the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1.
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"With the stuff I had today, I should have been better," Lynn said.
Lynn had been 12-0 through April in his big league career, including one March victory. Among pitchers with at least 10 March/April wins, his percentage was the best ahead of Babe Ruth’s .929 (13-1).
But Lynn (4-1) allowed three runs — two earned — and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He gave up Young’s tying home run in the fifth, then threw wildly to first on Eric Young Jr.’s leadoff bunt in the sixth for a two-base error. Daniel Murphy blooped a double just in front of diving center fielder Jon Jay for a 2-1 lead. New York chased Lynn in a two-run seventh that included RBIs from Granderson and Murphy.
"It was a pretty good outing," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We’re just not putting up the offense."
Indeed. St. Louis is averaging just under 3.5 runs per game, down from 4.8 last year en route to the NL pennant. The Cardinals have lost six of nine and gone 291 at-bats without a home run since Allen Craig connected at Milwaukee off Wily Peralta on April 16. That’s two shy of their streak from July 26-Aug. 2 last summer, which was their longest since a 334-at-bat drought in May 2010, according to STATS.
"We’re still confident. You know it’s still April, but we want to get it going," second baseman Kolten Wong said. "Things are not clicking the way we want them to."
Colon (2-3) allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked none. New York’s bullpen pitched hitless ball, with Carlos Torres and Scott Rice splitting the eighth, and Daisuke Matsuzaka finishing with a perfect ninth for his first save since 2000 with the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League.
Playing a day game after a night game, the Cardinals started catcher Tony Cruz instead of All-Star Yadier Molina. Cruz has made three starts this year — all games pitched by Lynn, his old minor league teammate.
St. Louis went ahead in the fifth when Wong singled with two outs and Cruz lined a ball to left-center. Chris Young sprinted over from center and couldn’t prevent the ball from bouncing between his legs for an RBI double.
That wasn’t enough, and St. Louis dropped to 8-15 at Citi Field. New York took three of four from the Cardinals, who went 5-6 on their trip and headed home for six games against the Pirates and Brewers. Then comes another three-city swing — to Chicago, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
"We’ve been home six days in the past 2 months," Lynn said. "I think a lot of people are looking forward to getting home and sleeping in their own beds."
— Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright threw a bullpen session and said his right knee feels good enough to allow him to make his next scheduled start Sunday against Pittsburgh. He stretched his scoreless streak to 17 innings Tuesday but left a 3-0 win over the Mets after hyperextending the right knee while lunging for Chris Young’s flare between the mound and first base.
— Shelby Miller (1-2) starts Friday against Gerrit Cole (2-1).