NEW YORK • The Cardinals got their first run of the evening on a home run and shaved the Mets lead down to two runs with that home run.
The Mets would answer in kind, twofold.
David Wright hit his ninth home run of the season and, an inning later, Marlon Byrd would hit his ninth home run of the season to extend the Mets' lead to 5-1 through seven innings. Bobby Parnell closed it with a scoreless ninth to complete the victory.
Dillon Gee pitched 6 2/3 superb innings, holding the Cardinals to the one run -- on Allen Craig's homer -- and striking out seven.
Wright's home run came in Shelby Miller's final inning of work and Byrd's greeted rookie Seth Maness to lead off the seventh inning.
Miller pitched six innings and struck out 10.
But two home runs allowed and a two-run rally in the first inning put him in line for the loss tonight. The Mets have hit three home runs since the end of the third inning to stay ahead of the Cardinals
Mets right Dillon Gee, tightening his grip on a spot in the Mets' rotation, held the Cardinals to one run on six hits through 6 2/3 innings. Gee walked two and struck out seven.
Gee quieting Cardinals through six
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina entered tonight's game with nine at-bats against Mets starter Dillon Gee and nary a hit. He did have three strikeouts in those nine at-bats.
Molina is starting to rally.
The Cardinals' catcher and the NL's leading hitter has three hits in his first three at-bats against Gee tonight.
The rest of the lineup isn't doing as well.
The Cardinals trail 3-1 through 5 1/2 innings at Citi Field has Gee has allowed six hits but pitched around those to keep the Cardinals to their one lone run. Allen Craig's sixth homer of the season on a full-count fastball in the top of the sixth inning broke Gee's shutout bid.
The Mets did Wednesday to rookie Shelby Miller what they did Tuesday to rookie starter Michael Wacha -- they jumped him for a 2-0 lead. David Wright's two-out double and RBI singles from Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda built the early lead. Duda had a solo home run off Miller in the fourth inning to put the Mets momentarily ahead 3-0.
Miller has struck out most of the batters who don't have hits.
Miller has not walked a batter and his first out of the bottom of the sixth inning was a strike out of Omar Quintanilla. It was his 10th strikeout of the game.
Matheny has issue when heads become the targets
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher who has been part of the delicate dance of purposeful HBPs, watched the brawl that raged between the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks last night and saw Kirk Gibson's post-game comments about the exchange of bean balls that led to the skirmishes.
Matheny, like Tony La Russa before him, is against any of the pitches that stray too high in the zone, and he has seen one of the Cardinals' rivals this season have the catcher standing up behind the batter as if to invite the high and inside -- the danger zone -- pitch.
"I think there are different philosophies on different clubs," Matheny said. "There is a club that we’ve faced a number of times this year that they keep emphasizing they want the catcher standing up behind the guy inside. That stuff drives me crazy. I don’t think there’s any room for it. I really don’t. Have we missed up high? Yeah. I’m going to tell you once again we’ve got humans out there that are going to make mistakes and the ball is going to take off. But as far as a team philosophy? No way. I don’t think it’s right."
Matheny did not identify the team that has the catcher standing up behind the Cardinals' batters at times.
Another member of the club did: the Chicago Cubs.
"I do know if you pitch inside and my predecessor was also quick to point out that we’re dealing with humans out here, not machines and mistakes happen," Matheny said. "It’s scary when they happen up in that area. I have no problem with guys pitching inside. The only time I’ve had problems this year is when I’ve seen catchers being very deliberate coming up and in and never never did that in my career. I’ve never once asked our guys to do that. I never will. Coming inside is one thing. But when you start putting targets up by guys heads – which I didn’t see that yesterday (from LA or Arizona) – I just don’t think there’s room in the game for messing around with guys heads.
"You don’t want to see anybody get hurt," Matheny concluded. "You don’t want to see anybody get hit in the head. Any time I see a ball sail for or against us I don’t like it. I’m not a fan."
Cards sign top three picks; shortstop gets big bonus
The Cardinals have agreed to terms with their top three draft picks and could finalize the deals as soon as next week when all three visit St. Louis for physicals.
First-round pick Marco Gonzales confirmed his plans to visit St. Louis to the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday evening. A source familiar with the team's deals with the players confirmed Wednesday morning that the team has agreements with first-round pick Rob Kaminsky and shortstop Oscar Mercado, the 57th overall pick.
Mercado has received one of the largest over-slot bonuses of the draft so far. The Cardinals and the Florida prep infielder agree to a deal worth $1.5 million. That's more than $500,000 higher than the suggested slot for his spot in the draft.
Kaminsky, a New Jersey prep pitcher, could visit the team this week while it plays a series at Citi Field in New York. The Cardinals selected him 28th overall.
Gonzales was taken 19th overall. He signed for $1.85 million, according to two sources with knowledge of the agreement.
Baseball America and MLB.com reported that his bonus will be $1.785 million.
The deals are all contingent on the players passing physicals.
The announced that they had finalized deals with six other draft picks: P Ian McKinney (5th round, Boone HS), P Jimmy Reed (6th round, Maryland), SS Chris Rivera (7th round, El Dorado HS), OF Devante Lacy (24th round, Cedar Valley College), P Blake McKnight (38th round, Evangel University) and P Kevin Herget (39th round, Kean University).
Here is the lineup for the Cardinals tonight against the Mets:
1. Carpenter, 2B
2. Beltran, RF
3. Holliday, LF
4. Craig, 1B
5. Molina, C
6. Freese, 3B -- 20-game hitting streak
7. Jon Jay, CF
8. Kozma, SS
9. Miller, P
Check back throughout the evening for news and notes from the Cardinals' game against the New York Mets.