NEW YORK -- — Facing emerging right-handed ace Miles Mikolas, Mets manager Buck Showlater stacked his lineup with six lefties and two switch-hitters.
That played just right for the NL East leaders.
McNeil and Smith each had two hits, including an RBI double apiece in the third inning. McNeil also narrowly missed a homer foul during a 12-pitch at-bat against Mikolas in the first and Smith singled and scored on a groundout in the second.
“A lot of good at-bats,” Showalter said. “We didn’t strike out a whole lot off him until later on. He’s a good one. He’s got a lot of weapons.”
Mikolas (3-2) entered with a 1.49 ERA but allowed a season-high three runs (two earned) over six innings. The 33-year-old right-hander matched a season most with seven hits allowed and threw a season-high 106 pitches.
“They were putting some good swings on the ball early,” Mikolas said. “I think we made an adjustment with our pitch calling and I was able to have a couple clean innings.”
Paul Goldschmidt homered for St. Louis, which opened a seven-game trip with its first doubleheader this season.
St. Louis put two runners on against Edwin Díaz in the ninth, but the Mets closer struck out Harrison Bader swinging to end his ninth save.
New York, coming off its first series loss this year against Seattle, has won 12 straight games following a defeat.
It was the first meeting between the teams since a bench-clearing scuffle in St. Louis on April 27. After four Mets hitters were plunked in the series, New York reliever Yoan López threw a pitch near Nolan Arenado’s head that sparked the melee.
Major League Baseball suspended Arenado two games and Cardinals reliever Génesis Cabrera one game for their roles the dustup. Arenado has appealed his ban and hasn’t served any punishment yet.
Arenado was booed throughout Tuesday by Mets fans and went 0 for 4. Cabrera didn't pitch in the opener.
Williams threw four scoreless innings in a spot start for injured Tylor Megill. The right-hander struck out six and allowed four hits and no walks on 65 pitches.
“I'm just happy to contribute,” Williams said. “I know this is what my job is, is to save the bullpen.”
Jake Reed (1-0) walked two of his first three hitters but still followed Williams with two scoreless innings in his 2022 debut. Seth Lugo was perfect in the seventh and Drew Smith allowed Goldschmidt's homer in the eighth.
Former Mets left-hander Steven Matz (3-3, 6.40 ERA) will start the nightcap for the Cardinals, his second start at Citi Field since being traded to Toronto after the 2020 season. He'll face Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.00). The doubleheader — St. Louis' first and New York's fourth — was scheduled after Monday's series opener was rained out.
Mets manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Marte’s grandmother, Ponga Brigida, died unexpectedly. Marte was raised by his grandmother in the Dominican Republic after his mother died when he was 9. Wednesday will mark two years since Marte’s wife, Noelia, died of a heart attack.
“It was heart-wrenching talking to him yesterday,” Showalter said.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom had a follow-up MRI on Monday that showed progressive healing in the stress reaction in his right scapula. The team said he will continue to ramp up his throwing. ... RHP Steve Nogosek was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and RHP Adonis Medina added as the 27th player for the doubleheader. ... Reed was optioned to Triple-A between games, and INF Gosuke Katoh was promoted.
Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill was given Sunday and Monday off with hopes of shaking off a slow start to the season. O'Neill entered Tuesday hitting .193 with two homers and a .561 OPS. He was 1 for 4 with three strikeouts in the opener.
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