The Mets outlast the Cardinals in an 18-inning marathon

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On so-called “getaway day”, the Mets played and won an 18-inning marathon in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Now, they have to hop on a late flight to Washington, D.C. for a three-game set against the Nationals before heading back to Queens, New York for a 10-game homestand. Not exactly fun if you’re wearing a Mets uniform.

The game was deadlocked in a scoreless tie through 12 innings before the Mets broke through with a run in the top of the 13th on Kevin Plawecki’s RBI single. But the Cardinals answered in the bottom half of the 13th when Kolten Wong hit a game-tying solo home run, sending the game into yet more extra innings. It wouldn’t be until the 18th that the Mets would finally capitalize on one of their many opportunities.

Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez, in his fourth inning of relief, allowed back-to-back singles to begin the 18th inning, then committed a fielding error to load the bases for Ruben Tejada. Tejada lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to bring in the go-ahead run and send a potential insurance run to third base. Eric Campbell followed up with a squeeze bunt, bringing in the Mets’ second run of the inning to make it a 3-1 game. Mets reliever Carlos Torres was able to set down the Cardinals in order to preserve the 3-1, 18-inning victory.

The game was beautiful in its ugliness. The Mets went 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position, matching a club record with 25 runners left on base, per ESPN’s Adam Rubin. ESPN Stats & Info notes that the two teams combined to go 1-for-34 with RISP and left 39 combined runners on base.

Lost in the marathon was a stellar effort by Jon Niese, who tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out three. The lefty, a potential trade piece for the Mets, has a 2.28 ERA over his last eight starts spanning 55 1/3 innings.

The Mets are now 48-44, two games behind the Nationals for first place in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Cardinals maintain a 4.5-game lead over the Pirates for first place in the NL Central with their 58-34 record.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”