Max Scherzer leaves uncomfortable early in Mets win

Max Scherzer had a four-run lead in the sixth inning and things were going well for the Mets — like all season.

Until the three-time Cy Young Award winner signals the dugout that he’s done.

Scherzer pulled out of a start Wednesday night with left side discomfort before the Mets finished an 11-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He plans to have an MRI on Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s a major strain,” Scherzer said. “I was a little tight and then all of a sudden it was gone. But I don’t really feel like I tore it up. It just got worse. So hopefully I got out of there fast enough to avoid a serious injury here because I know obliques, intercostals, those things can be nasty. I hope I avoided a serious injury.

Pete Alonso homered and drove in four runs for the Mets (25-14), already missing starting ace Jacob deGrom and effective rotation replacement Tylor Megill through injuries.

Still, they improved to 13-1 after a loss. The only time they lost consecutive games this season was on April 10 and 11.

Jeff McNeil had a first two-run single and Alonso broke a tie at 2 with an RBI rookie reliever single against Jake Walsh (0-1) in a four-run fifth. Dominic Smith scored a home run and Luis Guillorme drove in another with a well-executed safety pressure.

Mets batters have been hit by pitches three times, bringing their major league-leading total to 28. Louis last month.

Both clubs were cautioned Wednesday night after Mark Canha was hit near the ribs by a 98-mile-per-hour fastball from Cardinals starter Jordan Hicks in third, but there were no issues between the teams. .

Canha scored three times and followed Brandon Nimmo’s triple with an RBI single as the Mets opened a 6-4 game with a five-run eighth capped by Alonso’s three-run homer against struggling southpaw TJ McFarland.

“Left a change and he was ready for it,” McFarland said. “It’s very frustrating, especially with our attack. We need a zero. We had momentum, and it’s disappointing that I come in and drop out of races like that.

Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals in the eighth. Albert Pujols had two hits to pass Eddie Collins for 10th on the career list with 3,314, including a first two-run single against Scherzer (5-1).

The 37-year-old right-hander left with two outs in the sixth and a 1-1 count over Pujols.

“It’s in spasm right now. I don’t really feel good,” he said after the game, laughing. “But once the spasm subsides, what is the true extent of this injury? We do not know. So we will know tomorrow.

With two runners, Scherzer threw a slider into the dirt and immediately signaled to the New York bench that he was done.

“I just felt a zing on my left side and I knew I was done,” he said. “When I felt it, I just knew there was no way to throw another pitch, so get out of there.”

Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, manager Buck Showalter and a coach walked out on the mound. After a quick discussion, Scherzer left the field.

“I don’t rush there because it’s usually not very good news,” Showalter said. “He was an excellent self-evaluator. He knows when he’s at a point where if he pushes harder, it’s going to turn into something serious.

“He’s not going to put himself in danger. A lot of guys may have tried to keep throwing. Hopefully we caught everything in it at an earlier stage.

Scherzer threw 61 of his 87 pitches for strikes and came away with a 6-2 lead against his hometown team. Adam Ottavino had all the time he needed to warm up and he retired Pujols to end the set.

Pujols, 42, who stole second from Scherzer, was also eliminated with the score 6-4 and one runner against Seth Lugo to finish eighth.

BALTIMORE — On a night when their bats were held in check, the Yankees found another way to win.

Gerrit Cole threw seven effective innings, the defense backed him up with several solid plays, and New York beat the skidding Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, on Wednesday night.

Cole (4-0) allowed two runs and six hits with five strikeouts. Behind him, right fielder Marwin Gonzalez made two clutch catches and Josh Donaldson signaled several sharp ground shots. Then, in the eighth, first baseman Anthony Rizzo caught a scorching liner to start an unassisted double play.

The Yankees only had six hits, but a three-run first inning that featured a sprint from second to home on wild pitch proved enough to earn the victory.

And that, to a large extent, explains why New York got off to an incredible 28-9 start.

“Tonight we won on base run and defense,” Cole noted, “and we’re the Bronx Bombers.”

No home run required. The Yankees were only able to muster a pair of doubles, but they still earned their 21st victory in 24 games.

“It’s been a good start, no doubt,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m really thrilled with the way they’re doing it – in different ways. Tonight we relied on pitching and a great base run.

New York got the upper hand in the first when Gleyber Torres followed up two-out singles from Rizzo and Donaldson with an RBI brace. Then, on a wild throw from Jordan Lyles, Donaldson scored and Torres headed home on catcher Anthony Bemboom’s errant throw to the plate.

That was enough to propel the Yankees to their ninth win in the last 10 games. New York’s 28-9 start is tied for second in the majors since 1948, behind only the 1984 Detroit Tigers at 32-5.

The Yankees will look to complete a four-game sweep against last-place Baltimore on Thursday afternoon. The Orioles, who have lost six straight, are the only team to take a series against the Yankees this season, winning two of three in mid-April.

After Cole’s impressive outing, Clay Holmes worked the last two innings for the third save of his career, all this season and all against the Orioles.

Lance B. Holton