^By JOE HARRIS=
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Paul DeJong had no guaranties when he was recalled by the St. Louis Cardinals on June 15.
He’s certainly making a strong case for an extended stay in the big leagues.
DeJong homered as part of a four-hit game and Adam Wainwright won his third consecutive start as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 4-1 on Saturday.
DeJong notched his first career four-hit game with three doubles to go along with the homer. He became the first Cardinals shortstop and No. 8 hitter in the modern era to have four extra-base hits in one game.
“It was just one of those days when you’re in the zone and seeing it really well and not thinking too much,” DeJong said. “Just going up there trying to see the ball down the middle and hit it really. That’s as simple as it can be.”
DeJong drove in two and scored twice. He is hitting .625 (10 for 16) during a five-game hitting streak.
“I’m just controlling my emotions in the (batter’s) box, not trying to create anything,” DeJong said. “At times I can get out of my zone and swing at pitches that I shouldn’t be, swinging when I’m trying to do too much.”
Wainwright (10-5) pitched 6 2/3 innings, lasting into the seventh for the third time in his last four starts. Three of the five hits he allowed came in the seventh and he struck out seven, including the side in the sixth inning.
“I thought his cutter slider was his best all season and then he didn’t try to overthrow his fastball,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “I thought he just did a real nice job of executing pitches all day.”
Seung Hwan Oh earned his 18th save in 21 chances. Matt Bowman got Wainwright out of his seventh-inning jam and Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless eighth.
DeJong’s leadoff homer in the third, his second in as many games, gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. It is the third time in DeJong’s 34-game career that he has hit home runs in back-to-back days.
“Not surprising to me at all that Paul’s having such a great start,” Wainwright said. “He’s hit in every league he’s been in.”
Yadier Molina’s double in the sixth made it 2-0 Cardinals. It was Molina’s first RBI in five games.
Jay Bruce’s 23rd home run of the season cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1 in the seventh. It is a career high for Bruce in the first half of the season and it is the most homers by a Mets before the All-Star break since Carlos Beltran hit 25 in 2006.
Zack Wheeler (3-6) struck out five in six innings in his second start since returning from the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. It was his longest outing since going seven innings on June 7.
“I think the fastball command was there, better than it has been so I’m happy with that,” Wheeler said. “But I made a couple of mistakes to DeJong and Molina and it cost me a couple of runs.”
The Cardinals ran themselves out of scoring chances in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Tommy Pham was caught stealing for the third out with a runner on third and clean-up hitter Jedd Gyorko batting. In the fourth, Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud ended the inning with a strikeout out-throw out double play, catching Molina trying to steal third.
Aside from throwing out the two would-be base stealers, d’Arnaud thwarted another potential Cardinals rally by pouncing on a bunt by Wainwright and throwing DeJong out at third for the first out of the fifth inning.
“We always knew he had the arm strength,” Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now he’s got his throwing action back and he’s gotten a lot better.”
Mets: OF Michael Conforto (bruised left hand) was activated and was replaced on the 10-day DL by Brandon Nimmo (partially collapsed lung).
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