NEW YORK (AP) Alec Burleson hit his first homer in almost nine months Friday night, a three-run blast that powered the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the New York Mets.

Burleson’s second-inning round-tripper off José Buttó was his first since he homered against the Minnesota Twins last Aug. 3. He entered Friday with two extra-base hits - both doubles - in 51 at-bats.

“You can’t really hit it at them when you hit it over the fence,” Burleson said with a grin. “Being able to go up there with a plan and approach and actually execute it and get rewarded for it is awesome.”

Burleson started Friday for just the fifth time in the Cardinals’ last 15 games. He had seven singles in 18 at-bats between extra-base hits.

“I think it gets you to drop your shoulders a little bit - take a breath that you finally got rewarded,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He’s been taking good swings at people. Some haven’t dropped. And that’s a big swing there that helped us win this ballgame. So let’s build off of that.”

J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his Mets debut. Martinez signed a one-year contract March 23 but was sidelined by lower back stiffness.

“Just trying to go up there and be competitive, that was my whole thing today,” Martinez said. “Just put the ball forward. I did it twice. The other ones, I didn’t put it forward.”

Willson Contreras hit a 445-foot homer off the facade along the second deck in left field in the third for the Cardinals.

Miles Mikolas (2-3) gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings to lower his ERA from 6.49 to 5.91. He wriggled out of a two-on, none-out jam in the first by getting Francisco Lindor to fly out before inducing Pete Alonso to hit into a double play. Tomás Nido led off the third with a double and was stranded at third when Mikolas struck out Starling Marte and retired Lindor on a groundout.

“They barreled some balls right at people but he was able to get his outs when needed,” Marmol said. “Overall did a really nice job.”

Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ fourth pitcher, earned his eighth save with a perfect ninth.

St. Louis’ Nolan Arenado went 0-for-3 but was hit by a pitch in the second to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games, the longest streak in the majors this season and tied for the second-longest such streak of Arenado’s career.

Nido homered in the fifth for the Mets, who were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought we had decent at-bats,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Just couldn’t get the big hit.”

Buttó (0-1) allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings.


The crowd of 24,159 cheered the three times the Mets aired on the scoreboard goals by the New York Rangers, who beat the Washington Capitals 3-1 to take a 3-0 series lead in the first round of the NHL playoffs.


Cardinals: SS Masyn Winn (back) had a scheduled day off. ... OF Dylan Carlson (left shoulder) took batting practice in St. Louis Friday and could begin a rehab assignment next week. ... INF Matt Carpenter (right oblique) swung a bat Friday and is expected to do so again Saturday.

Mets: To make room for Martinez on the active roster, the Mets designated infielder Zack Short for assignment. ... RHP Tylor Megill (right shoulder strain) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday by throwing two innings for Class A Brooklyn. ... RHP Kodai Senga (right shoulder) threw a bullpen Thursday and is slated to throw live batting practice Monday.


Mets RHP Adrian Houser (0-2, 7.45 ERA) opposes Cardinals RHP Sonny Gray (2-1, 1.04) Saturday in the middle game of the series.



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