By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Angel Pagan homered with one out in the 10th
inning and the New York Mets rallied from an early four-run deficit
to beat the sputtering St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 Wednesday night.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer and new father Josh Thole had
two RBIs for the Mets, including a tying single off Jason Motte
with two outs in the eighth.
Albert Pujols was not in the St. Louis starting lineup, rested
against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with a scorching day game on deck
Thursday. But the Cardinals built a 4-0 lead for Kyle McClellan,
who is 0-5 in eight starts since beating Houston on May 19.
Matt Holliday had three hits and two RBIs for St. Louis. Locked
in a tight race near the top of the NL Central, the Cardinals have
dropped four of five since the All-Star break.
Pagan connected on the first pitch he saw from Fernando Salas
(5-4), hitting a drive off the facing of the second deck in right
field for his first career game-ending homer.
Jason Isringhausen (2-0) worked two scoreless innings for the
win, one night after notching his 294th career save and first this
season. Facing his former team, the veteran right-hander struck out
Pujols, Holliday and Lance Berkman in succession.
Pujols entered as a pinch-hitter with a runner on third and two
outs in the seventh. He fouled out against reliever Pedro Beato,
keeping the score tied at 4, and remained in the game at first
Backup catcher Gerald Laird put St. Louis ahead in the eighth
with a savvy bunt single. Holliday led off with a single, tagged up
on a fly to left and went to third on a groundout.
After an intentional walk, Laird noticed the New York infield
playing deep and dropped a beautiful bunt down the third-base line
on a 99 mph fastball from Bobby Parnell.
Third baseman Daniel Murphy had no play. Just before the pitch,
he darted in to keep Holliday close at third, then backed up way
behind the bag.
A throwing error by shortstop Daniel Descalso on a tough play
allowed Pagan to reach safely leading off the bottom of the eighth.
He scored from third when Thole lined Motte’s second pitch to left.
The teams are back at it Thursday at 12:10 p.m., with expected
temperatures in the mid-90s accompanied by sweltering humidity.
Skip Schumaker opened the game with a double and scored on
Holliday’s sacrifice fly.
McClellan started a rally with a leadoff single in the third.
Schumaker also singled and both runners advanced on Dickey’s wild
Jon Jay drove in a run with a groundout and Holliday sliced an
RBI double that tailed away from Beltran, who took a wayward route
in deep right. Berkman added a single that made it 4-0.
The bottom of the lineup got New York back in the game.
McClellan retired his first six batters before Lucas Duda’s
dribbler went for an infield single. Thole followed with a long RBI
double and Dickey faked a bunt before slashing a butcher-boy single
through the left side to cut it to 4-2.
Dickey also singled to start the fifth, giving him five hits in
his last seven at-bats after starting the season 1 for 25.
Two outs later, Beltran worked an eight-pitch at-bat against
McClellan and sent a two-run shot soaring deep into the second deck
in right field for his 15th homer.
Beltran, who can become a free agent after the season, is at the
center of trade talk all around baseball. The switch-hitting
slugger is perhaps the biggest prize available on the market as the
July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches.
NOTES: A fan ran into the outfield in the top of the sixth and
eluded several security guards for a while before he was tackled _
not far from Beltran. The fan was detained and led away through a
gate in the right-field fence. … Berkman replaced Pujols at first
base and Jay started in Berkman’s usual spot, right field. It was
the first time Pujols didn’t start since he came off the disabled
list July 5. … All-Star catcher Yadier Molina also was rested.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he might give Berkman a
breather Thursday. … Mets LF Jason Bay came out with a tight
right hamstring. He was replaced by Willie Harris in the top of the
fourth. … New York activated Thole from the paternity leave list
and optioned INF Ruben Tejada to Triple-A Buffalo. Thole and his
wife Kathryn, welcomed their first child Tuesday night and named
the boy Camden. … Mets 3B David Wright (lower back) played his
sixth rehab game for Class-A St. Lucie. He went 2 for 2 with two
singles and two walks as the DH against Clearwater. Wright is
expected to return to the lineup this weekend in Florida.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)