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St. Louis at New York

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St. Louis (40-34)100001000280
N.Y. Mets (37-34) «00030000x351

Santana lifts Mets over Cards in matchup of Cy Young winners

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Johan Santana was struggling. He had gone to 3-0 counts on four of his first 11 batters -- something he hadn't done in an entire game in six years, not counting intentional walks.

"My fastball," he said, "was moving all over the place."

Santana went back to the clubhouse and reviewed video following the first inning. He re-examined his mechanics.

And he emerged victorious over Chris Carpenter in a sparkling matchup of Cy Young Award winners.

Nick Evans hit a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning, and the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Thursday to win their first series since early June.

"I know I was going against a great pitcher," Santana said. "It was going to take one pitch or one mistake to change the whole ballgame."

A crowd of 41,221 was on hand, the largest in Citi Field history and the first sellout since opening day. In addition to the starters, fans were drawn by discounts of up to 50 percent on some tickets.

Even with Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, John Maine and Oliver Perez on the disabled list, the Mets took three of four from the Cardinals and closed within a half-game of NL East-leading Philadelphia heading into the first Subway Series at Citi Field.

Santana (9-5), the AL Cy Young Award winner for Minnesota in 2004 and '06, made his second straight solid start since allowing a career-high nine runs in a 15-0 loss to the Yankees on June 14. He gave up two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in seven innings to win for the first time in three starts and lower his ERA to 3.08.

"The guy's no slouch," Carpenter said. "He knows how to pitch."

  Knobler: K-Rod hits 96, looks forward to Yanks

Santana's key at-bat came after loading the bases with a second-inning, two-out walk to Skip Schumaker. Santana started Albert Pujols with a fastball inside, then followed with a changeup. Pujols, who had been 5 for 5 with three grand slams with the bases loaded this year, hit an inning-ending flyout to Fernando Tatis just in front of the warning track in left at the spacious park.

"He just got himself out," Santana said.

Pedro Feliciano pitched a one-hit eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 20th save in 22 chances. He struck out his first two batters, walked Pujols on four pitches and Ryan Ludwick on five, then retired Yadier Molina on a game-ending lineout to left.

"I think he likes the edge a little bit. I don't," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

New York had lost four straight series since winning two of three games at Washington from June 5-7. It doesn't get easier: The Mets face 2007 AL Cy Young winner CC Sabathia on Friday and A.J. Burnett on Sunday.

"As a hitter, that's not much fun," David Wright said.

Carpenter (5-2), the NL Cy Young winner for the Cardinals in 2005, gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings.

St. Louis got an unearned run in the first on an RBI single by Molina that followed a catcher's interference call against Omir Santos.

Luis Castillo singled leading off the fourth for the Mets' first hit and Wright singled off Carpenter's glove, with the ball deflecting toward second baseman Joe Thurston. Tatis singled in the tying run with one out and Evans, dumped to Double-A after going 7 for 75 at Buffalo earlier this year, followed his two-run homer Wednesday with a two-out double into the right-field corner on a flat cutter.

"He keep hitting, he keep playing," Manuel said.

All St. Louis got after that was Thurston's two-out RBI single in the sixth.

"Just tough pitcher's luck," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "A groundball in the hole for hit. Then you get a double-play ball, deflects off the pitcher's glove. Evans put a great swing on it, and it's two runs."

Manuel will take it. He'd just rather avoid more tense games.

"I think they like making me old," he said.

Notes

  • Santana had not gone to 3-0 counts four times without intentional walks since July 23, 2003, according to STATS LLC.
  • The Cardinals outhit the Mets 8-5 but went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and lost consecutive games for the first time since a five-game skid from June 8-9.
  • Rodriguez isn't thinking about Yankees reliever Brian Bruney. The two nearly fought at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago.
  • "I got better stuff to worry about," K-Rod said.
  • Mets RHP John Maine (shoulder) is to make a rehab start Saturday for Class A Brooklyn at Aberdeen, and Oliver Perez (knee) is to pitch for the Cyclones at home against Hudson Valley on Sunday.
  • Cardinals RHP Kyle Lohse (forearm strain) is to pitch three simulated innings to batters before Friday's game against Minnesota in St. Louis.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Johan Santana improves to 9-5, yielding two runs (one earned) on seven hits over seven innings.  (AP)
Johan Santana improves to 9-5, yielding two runs (one earned) on seven hits over seven innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Santana
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 3
K 3
St. Louis

Y. Molina
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Brendan Ryan, SS4000004 .308
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Duncan, PH1000010 .246
Skip Schumaker, LF4110121 .300
Albert Pujols, 1B4010104 .324
Ryan Ludwick, RF3000101 .231
Yadier Molina, C5021013 .281
Rick Ankiel, CF3110003 .235
   b- Tyler Greene, PH-SS1010000 .274
Khalil Greene, 3B3000012 .205
Chris Carpenter, P2010101 .125
   c- Jason LaRue, PH1000001 .261
    Colby Rasmus, CF0000000 .265
Joe Thurston, 2B2011101 .225
Totals3328255  
a-struck out for Motte in the 9th
b-singled for Ankiel in the 8th
c-lined out for Carpenter in the 8th
Batting
2B - Rick Ankiel (13, Santana)
SH - Khalil Greene (2), Joe Thurston (2)
RBI - Yadier Molina (24), Joe Thurston (19)
2-OUT RBI - Yadier Molina (12), Joe Thurston (8)
Team LOB - 12
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (L,5-2) 7433050 1.78
Dennys Reyes 0.1100100 4.50
Kyle McClellan0000100 3.24
Trever Miller 0.1000010 2.79
Jason Motte 0.1000000 5.27
HBP - Cora (by Chris Carpenter)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 82-64, Dennys Reyes 17-9, Kyle McClellan 7-3, Trever Miller 7-4, Jason Motte 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 10-6
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 26, Dennys Reyes 3, Kyle McClellan 1, Trever Miller 1, Jason Motte 1
New York Mets
Alex Cora, SS3000001 .266
Luis Castillo, 2B3110101 .284
David Wright, 3B3010101 .356
Ryan Church, RF4100025 .277
Fernando Tatis, LF4111003 .255
    Francisco Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
Fernando Martinez, CF3000010 .167
Nick Evans, 1B3012010 .429
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
    Jeremy Reed, LF0000000 .293
Omir Santos, C3000011 .283
Johan Santana, P2000010 .091
    Daniel Murphy, 1B1010000 .253
Totals2935326  
Batting
2B - Nick Evans (1, Carpenter)
RBI - Fernando Tatis (17), Nick Evans 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Evans 2 (4)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Omir Santos (1, Interference)
New York Mets
Johan Santana (W,9-5) 7721330 3.08
Pedro Feliciano (H,14) 1100000 2.61
Francisco Rodriguez (S,20) 1000220 1.01
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 110-74, Pedro Feliciano 10-7, Francisco Rodriguez 18-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 7-11, Pedro Feliciano 2-1
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 32, Pedro Feliciano 4, Francisco Rodriguez 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41221
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Mike DiMuro