(SportsNetwork.com) - Lance Lynn tries to become the first five-game winner when he leads the St. Louis Cardinals into the finale of a four-game series with the New York Mets Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
Lynn has won each of his first four starts and is sporting a 3.42 earned run average. He has been reached for only one run in his last two outings and delivered 5 2/3 solid innings in Saturday's 4-3 win at Washington. Lynn gave up a run and five hits, one start after throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out 11 batters at Milwaukee on April 14.
The right-hander will make his fourth start on the road and has a 2.04 ERA away from home in three chances. Lynn is 12-0 for March/April, the best mark since Babe Ruth went 13-1.
In four career meetings (2 starts) with the Mets, Lynn is 1-1 with a 3.86 earned run average. He is 0-1 in two games (1 start) at Citi Field.
The Cardinals starting pitching staff has a combined 12 wins, tops in MLB (12-7, 22 games), but Michael Wacha couldn't improve that mark after Wednesday's 3-2 loss in the third contest of this series.
Wacha lasted four innings and allowed two runs on three hits and five walks to go along with 10 strikeouts. Wacha allowed the runs on bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning.
"I don't credit it for losing my mechanics in that inning," Wacha said afterward. "You have to be more mentally tough than I was tonight. Walking in two runs is just unacceptable."
St. Louis scored in the first inning on Yadier Molina's RBI double and tacked on another run in the ninth thanks to pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso's run scoring two-base hit. Molina, who ended 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, is riding a 14-game hitting streak.
Matt Carpenter added four hits and nearly tied the game in the ninth, but was ruled out at home plate after a video review. Jon Jay and Carpenter hit consecutive one-out singles in the ninth before Descalso followed with a double to left-center field to score Jay. Carpenter also tried to score on the hit, but was tagged out at the plate.
It was St. Louis manager Mike Matheny's first challenge of the season.
"Perfect throw, perfect throw," Carpenter admitted. "The only chance they have is to make two perfect throws, and they were able to do it."
The Cardinals will wrap up an 11-game road trip (5-5) Thursday before returning home for six straight games versus Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
New York took advantage of Wacha's wild night, as Chris Young and Lucas Duda crossed the plate on bases-loaded walks. Duda homered and Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese earned the win with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Kyle Farnsworth benefited from the video review and posted his second save.
The Mets are 3-3 on a 10-game homestand and will host Miami this weekend.
"You know, we've been playing well," said Niese. "I think we can always play better. I think there's a lot of games that got away from us, and our record could be better. I look forward to good things to come."
Bobby Abreu could get the start for the Mets Thursday and was recently called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Abreu, 40, was released by the rival Phillies and the Mets took a chance on the Venezuelan.
Starting pitcher Bartolo Colon is another veteran addition to the Mets and is off to a rocky start in his new digs. Colon, who gets the nod this afternoon, has dropped back-to-back starts and is just 1-3 with a 5.40 earned run average in four appearances.
Colon pitched well in a 7-5 loss to Atlanta last Saturday, as he allowed three runs in seven innings. In his previous start on April 13 at the LA Angels of Anaheim, Colon was ripped for nine runs and 11 hits in five innings.
The bulky right-hander has lost both of his home starts, but has enjoyed success in his career against St.Louis, going 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts.
The Cardinals won five of seven meetings with New York last year.