ST. LOUIS -- The way the New York Mets road trip went, Pedro Martinez considered pitching to avoid a series sweep more stressful than his start in the World Series last fall.
Martinez stopped his own two-game skid as well as the Mets' six-game losing streak, working eight strong innings in a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
He beat the Cardinals with seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the World Series, helping the Red Sox sweep for their first championship since 1918.
"I think in the World Series it was easy for me to relax," Martinez said. "I had a space to actually make mistakes. But the way we're looking right now, we're not going to last very long."
Carlos Beltran homered and Mike Jacobs doubled twice with an RBI to help the Mets beat the Cardinals for the first time in 12 games on the road and avoid a four-game sweep. Victor Diaz hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Adam Wainwright.
New York, which rested Mike Piazza a day after he was beaned, won for only the third time in 15 games overall and completed a 2-8 road trip to Florida, Atlanta and St. Louis that damaged its wild-card hopes.
"There's no reason obsessing about it now," manager Willie Randolph said. "It's over, done with, and you can move on, but obviously it was nowhere near what we were expecting to do."
Randolph said his young team can learn some valuable lessons.
"I just told them to make sure they don't like the taste they have in their mouth, that they spit it out right away," Randolph said. "Our guys are pretty sharp, they've got a lot of talent and it's all part of growing pains.
"Sometimes you learn the hard way."
Martinez (14-7) allowed two runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. He had lost his previous two outings while allowing eight runs in 13 innings and had been 1-4 in his previous eight starts.
"I took it personally, I wanted to go out and try to do it and make it as easy as possible for us to win a ballgame," Martinez said. "I battled with whatever I had so I could get away with a win, not only for myself but for my team."
The Cardinals advanced only two runners into scoring position the first seven innings against Martinez, who benefited from four double plays. He tired a bit in the eighth, allowing an RBI double to Hector Luna and a run-scoring groundout to pinch-hitter John Gall that cut the gap to 4-2.
"You think you've got him figured out and he comes up with something new," John Mabry said after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Martinez. "Never the same pattern twice, never the same pitches twice."
Matt Morris (14-8) held the Mets scoreless until the fifth with almost all hard stuff before running into trouble the rest of his stint, giving up four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Morris threw to batters instead of in the bullpen between starts, concentrating on a sinking fastball after getting knocked out in the fifth of his previous start. He fell to 6-3 against the Mets, losing to them for the first time since April 23, 2003, at Shea Stadium.
"I thought I threw the ball a lot better than I have been the last couple times," Morris said. "I didn't get any breaks. When going against a guy like Pedro, you've got to be on top of your game."
Jacobs and Ramon Castro hit consecutive doubles leading off the fifth to put the Mets ahead, and Jacobs' two-out RBI double made it 2-0 in the sixth. Jose Reyes tripled to lead off the seventh and scored on Kaz Matsui's sacrifice fly, and Beltran followed with his 15th homer to make it 4-0.
Mets RF Cliff Floyd, who left Saturday's game with a tight hamstring, did not play Sunday as a precaution. The Mets have a day off Monday and Floyd hopes to play on Tuesday. ... Home plate umpire Ed Hickox was scratched due to illness, and the game was played with a three-man crew. ... Paid attendance of 45,884 was the Cardinals' 42nd sellout, and 17th in a row, in the final year at 40-year-old Busch Stadium. ... Reyes' triple was his major league-leading 16th of the season. ... Mets players wore seven different hats representing agencies that lost personnel in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Martinez wore a hat with the initials, FDNY, or Fire Department New York.