April 3, 2007: Hernandez Leads the Way Over Cards

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Date: April 3, 2007
Mets starter: Orlando Hernandez
Mets: 4
Cardinals: 1
Winning pitcher: Orlando Hernandez
Key player(s): Orlando Hernandez, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes
Key play: Beltran’s sacrifice fly, Hernandez’s double

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night in St. Louis. The teams played the second of three games in a season-opening series. Orlando Hernandez hit a two-run double and recorded the win in a 4-1 Mets victory over the Redbirds.

Jose Reyes drew a walk against Cards’ starter Kip Wells to lead off the top of the first inning. Reyes advanced to second base on Wells’ errant pickoff throw and to third on Paul Lo Duca’s sacrifice bunt. Carlos Beltran followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Reyes with the first run of the game. Wells retired Carlos Delgado on a ground ball to first baseman Albert Pujols for the third out. With two outs in the bottom half, Pujols doubled to left field. Hernandez then got Scott Rolen to ground out to second baseman Jose Valentin and close out the inning.

Hernandez and Wells each pitched scoreless ball from the second inning to the fourth. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Reyes singled and stole second base. Lo Duca reached on an error by right fielder Skip Schumaker that allowed Reyes to score for a 2-0 Mets lead. Wells threw a called third strike past Beltran to end the inning. Hernandez then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Delgado drew a walk to begin the top of the sixth. David Wright singled and Moises Alou flied out to left fielder Chris Duncan. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third base. Wells threw a called third strike past Shawn Green and issued an intentional walk to Valentin that loaded the bases. Hernandez doubled to drive home Delgado and Wright with the Mets’ third and fourth runs. On the play, Valentin was out at home via a throw by shortstop David Eckstein to catcher Yadier Molina to finish off the inning. Orlando then shut down the Cardinals in the bottom half.

St. Louis reliever Ryan Franklin set down the side in order in the top of the seventh. Rolen hit a home run to open the bottom of the inning. Jim Edmonds grounded out to Valentin and a fly ball by Adam Kennedy was caught by center fielder Beltran. Hernandez got Molina on a line drive to Beltran for the inning’s final out and Delgado singled against the Cards’ Tyler Johnson to begin the top of the eighth. Redbirds’ reliever Brad Thompson issued a walk to Wright. Alou lined out to center fielder Edmonds, who threw to second baseman Aaron Miles for an out on Delgado and a double play. Thompson got Green on a force play grounder to Miles to end the inning. Mets’ relievers Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman then combined for a scoreless bottom half.

For the Cardinals, relievers Randy Flores and Russ Springer teamed up for a scoreless top of the ninth. New York’s Billy Wagner retired Rolen on a pop-up to first baseman Delgado to begin the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Preston Wilson flied out to right fielder Endy Chavez. Wagner then got pinch-hitter Gary Bennett to fly out to Beltran and end the game. The Mets had their second straight win over the Redbirds to start the season.