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Reshuffled Mets back sharp deGrom, top Cards

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Unfazed by his team's nine-run output on Opening Day, Mets manager Mickey Callaway made multiple changes to his lineup for Game 2 on Saturday. He started Juan Lagares over Brandon Nimmo in center field, shifting Asdrubal Cabrera up to take Nimmo's spot at leadoff. He inserted Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate instead of Kevin Plawecki, calling Thursday's "small sample size" no reason to abandon season-long strategies already set in place.

The Mets then vindicated Callaway with a 6-2 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field. Cabrera rapped out three hits, and d'Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes both homered to back an effective but inefficient Jacob deGrom.

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NEW YORK -- Unfazed by his team's nine-run output on Opening Day, Mets manager Mickey Callaway made multiple changes to his lineup for Game 2 on Saturday. He started Juan Lagares over Brandon Nimmo in center field, shifting Asdrubal Cabrera up to take Nimmo's spot at leadoff. He inserted Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate instead of Kevin Plawecki, calling Thursday's "small sample size" no reason to abandon season-long strategies already set in place.

The Mets then vindicated Callaway with a 6-2 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field. Cabrera rapped out three hits, and d'Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes both homered to back an effective but inefficient Jacob deGrom.

View Full Game Coverage

"Nothing better than getting off to a good start," d'Arnaud said of the undefeated Mets. "The clubhouse feeling in here is amazing."

Outside that room, the Mets enjoyed a sun-splashed afternoon that bloomed in contrast to the gray skies of Opening Day. Todd Frazier gave the Mets an early lead with a two-run double off Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, who allowed both home runs and could not escape the fifth. By that time, the Mets owned a three-run advantage thanks to deGrom, who struck out five of the first nine batters he faced, giving up his only run on a Jose Martinez RBI single.

"I was having a hard time getting a grip on the ball," deGrom said. "But other than that, I was able to keep them off the board, gave them one run, and then these guys did a good job of putting up some runs for me."

Video: STL@NYM: deGrom fans seven in 5 2/3 innings of work

A rare bright spot for the Cardinals early this season, Martinez went 5-for-5 off deGrom and Noah Syndergaard his first two games. That output came in contrast to several other notables in St. Louis' lineup, including Dexter Fowler (0-for-9) and Marcell Ozuna (0-for-8).

Given such offensive holes, St. Louis' second run did not score until Matt Carpenter hit a solo homer off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who departed due to injury, in the eighth. But Jeurys Familia nailed down the final four outs for his first multi-inning save since 2016.

Video: STL@NYM: Familia notches four-out save to seal win

By the time he returned to the mound for the ninth, Familia was pitching with a four-run lead thanks to an offense that scored in five innings. In two games, 10 Mets players have scored at least one run, while eight have knocked home at least one.

"Getting all of our guys in the game and using them all, we have no qualms about that," Callaway said. "We trust every one of them, and they showed up and did the job tonight."

Video: STL@NYM: Callaway on win, deGrom's status

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Salt and pepper: Frazier, who has abandoned his signature "thumbs-down" celebration for the Mets' "salt and pepper" shaker, had an early opportunity to break it out when he doubled to deep left field in the first inning, plating Cespedes and Jay Bruce. Cabrera had sparked the Mets' first rally off Wacha with a leadoff double.

Video: STL@NYM: Frazier plates two with a double to left

"We're sticking to our approach," Frazier said. "It's different for everybody, of course, but it's fun to play. They get a run, we get one back."

Fire department: Unable to mount a consistent threat against deGrom, the Cardinals greeted Robert Gsellman with consecutive singles to open the seventh inning in a 4-1 game. But Gsellman responded by inducing a Kolten Wong groundout, before Swarzak set down pinch-hitter Greg Garcia and Fowler to end the threat. The Cardinals never brought the potential tying run to the plate again.

Video: STL@NYM: Swarzak works out of a jam in the 7th

"I like our offense against anybody," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We had opportunities. We had opportunities yesterday and capitalized a little better then. They have the swing-and-miss stuff that can get them out of a bind."

QUOTABLE
"I had the first double-switch I've ever had to do. I had to do it on the fly, out on the mound, with an injured player. I'm glad I got it all right." -- Callaway, on the first double-switch of his managerial career, subbing Wilmer Flores and Familia into the game for Swarzak and Adrian Gonzalez in the eighth

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Callaway became the first man to win his first two games as Mets manager since Joe Torre in 1977. The Mets also began 2-0 as a team for the first time since 2013.

Martinez is the first Cardinals player in six years to collect five or more hits over the season's first two games, since Rafael Furcal and David Freese did so in 2012. Showboat Fisher set the club record by recording eight hits over the first two games of the 1930 season.

FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Swarzak departed in the company of trainer Brian Chicklo after walking Martinez with two outs in the eighth. The Mets said he was nursing a sore left oblique. Although Swarzak wasn't scheduled for any tests as of Saturday afternoon, the Mets could send him for some on Sunday morning.

Video: STL@NYM: Swarzak leaves game with injury in the 8th

"I'm going to be optimistic," Swarzak said. "I'm not panicking at this point." More >

Video: STL@NYM: Swarzak on leaving game with oblique injury

WHAT'S NEXT
Steven Matz will close out the Mets' season-opening series in an Easter Sunday matinee. After two poor starts to open Spring Training, Matz pitched to a 1.96 ERA over his final four outings to win a rotation spot.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.