Lindor, Carrasco shine on Clemente Day, Mets beat Pirates 7-1

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NEW YORK — As far as Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco were concerned, there was no better way to honor Roberto Clemente than playing well in a win.

On a night particularly meaningful to both of them, Lindor and Carrasco propelled the New York Mets past the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 on Thursday to extend their slim lead in the NL East as Major League Baseball celebrated Roberto Clemente Day at Citi Field.

“It was a special day. There was a lot more buzz around, a lot of happy energy in the building,” Lindor said. “But it’s still a grind. I’m still tired, and I’ll be tired tomorrow. I’m just happy a lot of guys were able to contribute to today’s win, including myself.”

Lindor launched his 24th home run to set a Mets season record for shortstops, and Carrasco (15-6) struck out a season-best 11 in six splendid innings as New York moved a game ahead of idle Atlanta.

“It was really special for me,” said Carrasco, a past winner of baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for community service and playing excellence.

Slumping designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach drove in three runs against his former team, and pinch-hitter Mark Vientos had an RBI single for his first major league hit.

Vientos’ parents were in attendance and he planned to give them the souvenir ball.

“Memorable, for sure. Just felt really good getting the first one out of the way,” he said. “Take a deep breath now and play baseball.”

Breaking out early at the plate in the opener of a four-game series, the Mets halted a five-game home losing streak and rebounded from a three-game sweep by the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field.

New York (90-55), which hasn’t lost four straight all year, improved to 6-7 in a 16-game stretch against Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami and Chicago – all more than 20 games under .500 this season.

Michael Chavis had an RBI double in the second for the last-place Pirates. JT Brubaker (3-12) was tagged for five runs and seven hits over three innings before leaving with discomfort in his right lat muscle. He is day-to-day and expects to undergo an MRI.

“It’s a weird feeling. Never really felt anything in that area, so it’s kind of hard to describe,” Brubaker said.

Carrasco was playing catch in the outfield to get loose as more than a dozen other winners of the Roberto Clemente Award were introduced during a pregame ceremony. A leukemia survivor, Carrasco won the cherished prize in 2019 with Cleveland.

Major League Baseball was celebrating its 21st annual Roberto Clemente Day, with festivities centered at Citi Field where all players and coaches wore Clemente’s No. 21 to honor the Pirates Hall of Fame outfielder who died in a plane crash at age 38 attempting to deliver relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve 1972.

Lindor, like Clemente a proud native of Puerto Rico, hit a two-run homer into the second deck in right field to make it 4-0 in the third and establish a career high for RBIs with 94.

Mets manager Buck Showalter said he initially thought about giving Lindor a little break as the DH, but the star shortstop wanted to play the field – especially on this day.

“I knew what a big night it is for him with Roberto Clemente,” Showalter said. “I know that meant a lot to him. But he’s just been a rock for us in so many ways.”

Jeff McNeil followed with a double and Vogelbach, acquired from Pittsburgh in a July trade, added an RBI single.

Vogelbach got the Mets going in the first with a two-run double off Brubaker.

The 35-year-old Carrasco mostly cruised and improved to 7-2 with a 2.12 ERA in his past 11 starts. He became the first 15-game winner for the Mets since Jacob deGrom in 2017.

Coming off a four-game sweep in Cincinnati, the Pirates began a stretch of six consecutive games in New York that includes two at Yankee Stadium next Tuesday and Wednesday. They struck out 16 times and got outhit 10-4 as they were denied their first five-game winning streak since April 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets ace RHP Max Scherzer (left oblique irritation) is expected to come off the injured list and start Monday in Milwaukee. … Showalter said catcher Tomas Nido was sore after getting hit by a couple of foul balls Wednesday. … RHP Tylor Megill (right shoulder strain) and RHP Drew Smith (right lat strain) are not too far from returning, Showalter said. … Hitting coach Eric Chavez left the team for a few days to go home and attend to a family matter. He’ll probably be back next week in Milwaukee, Showalter said.

ROSTER MOVES

Pittsburgh recalled LHP Eric Stout from Triple-A Indianapolis. He allowed one run over two innings in relief of Brubaker. RHP Tyler Beede and LHP Dillon Peters were designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (5-10, 4.01 ERA) starts Friday night against Taijuan Walker (11-4, 3.48).

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.