ST. LOUIS — The New York Mets’ hit-by-pitch frustrations boiled over Wednesday when reliever Yoan Lopez threw a pitch near Nolan Arenado’s head, sparking a benches-clearing brawl that led to Arenado’s ejection in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-5 victory.

Arenado reached four times and drove in three runs before the incident in the eighth inning.

Mets hitter J.D. Davis left in the top of the eighth after being hit in the left foot by a pitch from Genesis Cabrera, the major league-leading 19th hit-by-pitch for the Mets this season _ including three Tuesday night against St. Louis.

Lopez zipped a 94 mph fastball near Arenado’s head, and Arenado began yelling for Lopez to “do it again.” The benches and bullpens cleared, and the teams pushed and shoved near home plate.

Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp tackled Mets star Pete Alonso near the center of the melee. Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright later walked over to Alonso to ask if he was all right.

Clapp was ejected along with Arenado, but Lopez remained in the game.

Lopez was high-fived by several teammates when he returned to the dugout after the inning.

Mets manager Buck Showalter denied after the game that New York felt the need to send a message about the plunkings and said Lopez’s pitch wasn’t intentional.

Showalter also said X-rays on Davis’ foot were negative, but he’d need further evaluation.

The Mets have been furious by a spate of hit batters, and pitcher Chris Bassitt blamed it largely on inconsistencies in baseballs provided by the league a year after Major League Baseball cracked down on the use of illegal sticky substances by pitchers.

“MLB is always concerned about keeping hitters safe from dangerous pitches,” a league spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. “We closely analyze trends in the game and have active conversations with our players and coaches to address concerns.

“Through April 26, leaguewide statistics show hit-by-pitch rates and wild pitch rates are down relative to previous seasons. However, one club has been hit more than twice as often as the league average so far in 2022, which is something we will continue to monitor.”

Dylan Carlson’s two-run triple capped a five-run fourth inning. The Cardinals scored two more runs during the outburst than they had the previous three games combined.

Jake Woodford (1-0) allowed a run in two-plus innings of relief as St. Louis snapped a season-high three-game losing streak.

Cardinals starter Steven Matz needed a season-high 97 pitches to get through just four innings. He gave up four runs and struck out six.

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco (1-1) gave up a season-high eight runs, seven earned, in a season-low 3 2/3 innings as the Mets had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Tomas Nido and Brandon Nimmo had back-to-back, two run doubles to stake the Mets to a 4-1 lead in the second, but Carrasco couldn’t make it stand.

Arenado’s two-run single in the third cut the Mets’ lead to one and Tommy Edman had an RBI double to get the fourth-inning rally started as the Cardinals took an 8-4 lead.

The Cardinals took advantage of Francisco Lindor’s error that allowed Tyler O’Neill to reach in the first. Dickerson singled home O’Neill to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

NO RUNNING ALLOWED

The Mets lost two baserunners attempting to take an extra base in the sixth. Mark Canha was thrown out trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double and Luis Guillorme was thrown out at third on a perfect throw by Carlson to end the inning after doubling to center.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Jordan Hicks had a right wrist contusion examined. Hicks left Tuesday’s game in the third inning after being struck on the right wrist by Dominic Smith’s line drive in the second.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (3-0, 2.35 ERA) will kick off a six-game homestand Friday night with the first of three against the Phillies and RHP Aaron Nola (1-2, 3.74 ERA). New York has won each of Megill’s last four starts, a career high.

Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (1-1, 3.95 ERA) starts the first of a four-game series Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks and RHP Humberto Castellanos (1-0, 3.00 ERA). Hudson threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his last start Saturday in a 5-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

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