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N.Y. Mets (3-7)010000002390
St. Louis (7-3) «00000040x461

Lopez's seventh-inning slam rallies Cards past Mets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Felipe Lopez's fifth career grand slam showcased his flair for dramatics. It also rewarded another stingy effort from St. Louis Cardinals' starting pitching.

With the bases loaded, Lopez is a .368 hitter with 93 RBI in 94 at-bats. On Friday night, he erased a one-run deficit to back Chris Carpenter's sterling bounceback outing as the Cardinals rallied against the New York Mets bullpen before holding on for a 4-3 victory.

"I put a good swing on it and it went further than I thought," Lopez said. "I don't try to hit home runs with the bases loaded, I just try to do my job and get it out in the outfield."

The Mets led 1-0 on the strength of an unearned run and stingy work from Oliver Perez before Lopez connected against 32-year-old rookie Raul Valdes. The first homer of the season by Lopez, a utility player St. Louis, came on a 2-1 pitch.

Lopez started at second and played the ninth at shortstop, throwing out Jose Reyes and Luis Castillo on tough plays for the final two outs.

"He had a great game," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's not in an ideal situation but he does have the benefit of versatile talents and his attitude is right."

Carpenter (2-0) struck out 10 in seven innings and allowed an unearned run on four hits, making a strong rebound from a poor outing Sunday in Milwaukee in which he allowed three homers and seven runs -- five earned -- in five innings at Milwaukee. Earlier in the week the Cardinals' ace dismissed speculation about potential reasons for getting knocked around, saying he simply got the ball up and paid for it.

"Tonight I executed," Carpenter said. "When I missed, I missed down."

Carpenter fanned Gary Matthews Jr. three times and reached double digits in strikeouts for the 13th time, and first since Sept. 7 at Milwaukee. He's 2-4 with a 3.89 ERA in six career starts against the Mets and beat them for the first time since Sept. 8, 2005, in St. Louis.

Cardinals starters have allowed two earned runs the first four games of the opening six-game homestand.

Perez allowed a run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings before the handing it off to the bullpen, which entered with a 1.95 ERA that was second-best in the majors. The Mets have lost five of six.

"It's frustrating, there's no doubt about it," manager Jerry Manuel said. "You have to applaud the fact we have at least in these first 10 games given ourselves a shot to win."

Fernando Nieve (0-1) got ahead 0-2 in the count against pinch-hitters Skip Schumaker and Matt Holliday, who didn't start due to illness, and both reached to load the bases with one out in the seventh. Schumaker was hit on the foot on an 0-2 pitch and Holliday walked on four straight balls after taking the first two strikes, setting up Lopez's heroics.

"I was trying to pitch around them and I think that was a mistake," Nieve said. "We just couldn't hold the game, and I hope next time I do better."

Manuel said he would have preferred to use Pedro Feliciano, who was unavailable because of stomach issues, instead of Valdes.

Mets pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis lined out to third on a diving play by David Freese to end the eighth, stranding runners on second and third. Ryan Franklin allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth with RBIs by pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto and Reyes, before getting his fourth save in four chances.

Jeff Francoeur was 2 for 3 with a walk and has hit safely in the first 10 games, four shy of the Mets' record set by David Wright last season and tied with three other players. Francoeur is batting .457 (16 for 35)

Shortstop Brendan Ryan's throwing error on a botched rundown in which first baseman Albert Pujols also was at fault gave the Mets an unearned run and the lead in the second.

Francoeur was hung up between third and home after taking a wide turn following Perez's sacrifice bunt, but Pujols threw to third instead of home. Ryan, who was covering the bag, uncorked a wild throw to the plate.

Notes

  • It was Lopez's first grand slam since he hit one for Washington on April 4, 2008, off Aaron Heilman, then with the Mets.
  • Manuel, who had considered moving Reyes, the leadoff man, to third, said before the game he'll leave Reyes at the top of the order for now. Reyes was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
  • Pro wrestling legend Ric Flair threw out three first pitches, all that bounced several times.
  • Wright made three nice plays at third, twice robbing Joe Mather and ranging far to his left to snare Pujols' grounder in the third.
  • The Cardinals have won the opener of all four series.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Felipe Lopez is all smiles after his fifth career grand slam gives the Cards the lead.  (AP)
Felipe Lopez is all smiles after his fifth career grand slam gives the Cards the lead. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

F. Lopez
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
New York

J. Francoeur
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5001021 .214
Luis Castillo, 2B4010101 .250
David Wright, 3B3010111 .290
Jason Bay, LF4010022 .263
Mike Jacobs, 1B3010022 .190
   a- Fernando Tatis, PH-1B1000002 .211
Jeff Francoeur, RF3220100 .457
Rod Barajas, C4010001 .242
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4110033 .190
Oliver Perez, P2000020 .250
    Fernando Nieve, P0000000 .000
    Raul Valdes, P0000000 .000
    Jenrry Mejia, P0000000 .000
   b- Frank Catalanotto, PH1011000 .111
    Angel Pagan, PR0000000 .208
Totals34392312  
a-lined out for Jacobs in the 8th
b-singled for Mejia in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Wright (2, Hawksworth), Gary Matthews Jr. (2, Franklin)
SH - Oliver Perez (1)
RBI - Jose Reyes (1), Frank Catalanotto (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Wright-Jacobs
New York Mets
Oliver Perez 6.1411340 3.75
Fernando Nieve (L,0-1)0022100 8.44
Raul Valdes (BS,1) 0.2111011 1.59
Jenrry Mejia 1100020 3.60
IBB - Ryan by Oliver Perez
HBP - Schumaker (by Fernando Nieve)
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 97-59, Fernando Nieve 11-6, Raul Valdes 15-9, Jenrry Mejia 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 8-6, Jenrry Mejia 1-0
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 25, Fernando Nieve 2, Raul Valdes 3, Jenrry Mejia 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Felipe Lopez, 2B-SS3124110 .280
Allen Craig, LF3000111 .100
    Blake Hawksworth, P0000000 .000
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Albert Pujols, 1B4000011 .359
Ryan Ludwick, RF4000021 .270
Yadier Molina, C4010010 .194
David Freese, 3B4130011 .367
Joe Mather, CF-LF3000003 .111
Brendan Ryan, SS1000100 .080
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-2B0100000 .258
Chris Carpenter, P2000002 .000
   b- Matt Holliday, PH0100100 .297
    Colby Rasmus, CF0000000 .200
Totals2846447  
a-hit by pitch for Ryan in the 7th
b-walked for Carpenter in the 7th
Batting
2B - Felipe Lopez (4, Perez), David Freese (2, Perez)
HR - Felipe Lopez (1, Valdes)
SH - Joe Mather (1)
RBI - Felipe Lopez 4 (4)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Carpenter-Pujols
E - Brendan Ryan (1, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,2-0) 74103100 3.50
Blake Hawksworth (H,1) 0.2200020 0.00
Dennys Reyes (H,3) 0.1000000 0.00
Ryan Franklin (S,4) 1322000 7.20
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 106-68, Blake Hawksworth 17-11, Dennys Reyes 6-3, Ryan Franklin 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 4-6, Ryan Franklin 2-1
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 27, Blake Hawksworth 4, Dennys Reyes 1, Ryan Franklin 6
Game Information
Attendance - 40101
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth