Mets weather windy Citi, Cards in wild finish

NEW YORK -- For much of a cold and windy night at Citi Field, Travis d'Arnaud's main concern was remaining upright.


"In between innings, I fell over a couple of times because of the wind," the New York Mets catcher said Wednesday night.

It was that kind of night and that kind of game, one that wasn't secure as a 3-2 Mets win over the St. Louis Cardinals until Curtis Granderson was forced to race far into the right-field corner to run down what started off as a routine Matt Holliday fly ball to right.

"That was one of the best plays of the game," Mets center-fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis said. "A tough play, a really tough play."

It wasn't, however, the play of the game. That came one batter earlier, and Nieuwenhuis was part of it.

With the tying runs at first and second, and Mets closer Kyle Farnsworth in trouble, pinch hitter Daniel Descalso drove a ball through the wind to left-center field. Nieuwenhuis ran it down and got the ball to relay man Ruben Tejada, but no one thought the Mets had a chance to throw Matt Carpenter out at the plate and preserve their lead.

"I figured it was a tie game," Farnsworth said.

But Tejada made a great throw ("I still can't believe I witnessed it," d'Arnaud said), d'Arnaud made a great tag, and the out call by plate umpire Marty Foster was confirmed by replay after a Cardinals challenge.

"My heart's still racing," d'Arnaud said.

The Mets had an impressive win, one that allowed manager Terry Collins to praise his 11-10 team.

"We're hanging in there because we play hard," Collins said. "The conditions [Wednesday] were really, really tough."

The conditions (including winds reported at 31 mph, gusting to 41 mph, at game time) may well have had an effect on Michael Wacha, who became the first Cardinal starter ever to strike out nine batters in the first three innings. Wacha struggled through a two-run, 30-pitch fourth inning and was charged with the loss.

Mets starter Jonathon Niese dealt with the conditions better than Wacha did, giving up just one run in 6 2/3 innings and needing only 95 pitches to get there. Given what the wind was doing even to pitches, that wasn't a simple task.

"The ball was moving," d'Arnaud said. "The wind was inconsistent, so [Niese] had to continually adjust where he was throwing it to. He was mentally able to push through it."

So were the Mets, with the help of the Nieuwenhuis-to-Tejada-to-d'Arnaud relay that saved the game.

"I turned my head, and I saw [Carpenter] in my peripheral vision," d'Arnaud said. "I saw that he was kind of past me, so I started tagging behind me. I knew I tagged him. I just didn't know if he tagged the plate first.

"I knew there had to be two perfect throws just to give that play a chance."

Is Farnsworth fine? Had Carpenter been safe at the plate, Farnsworth would have had a blown save and the questions about his ability to hold the Mets closer role would have no doubt been louder. Farnsworth didn't throw a pitch over 90 mph until the final at-bat, when two fastballs to Holliday were clocked at 93 and 94 mph.

Collins was concerned enough that he said he would check with Farnsworth and see if he needs a day or two off, but Farnsworth insists he's fine.

"Yeah, everything felt real good," he said.