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New York at St. Louis

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N.Y. Mets (4-8)030000000340
St. Louis (8-4) «00003002x5101

Wainwright, Ludwick carry Cardinals past Mets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright gave an overworked St. Louis Cardinals bullpen a welcome respite.

Wainwright threw a four-hitter with nine strikeouts and scored on Ryan Ludwick's tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning of the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-3 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday night. Wainwright's fourth career complete game came a day after a 20-inning, 2-1 loss.

Wainwright (3-0) worked eight shutout innings against the Astros in his previous start on Monday in the home opener. Manager Tony La Russa gave him the go-ahead to finish his first career start against New York.

"The 20 innings the night before was the only thing I had going in my favor," Wainwright said. "I knew I had to attack hitters, get early swings and early outs."

Colby Rasmus snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a tying three-run homer in the fifth against the Mets, who dropped two of three and have lost four straight series to open the season for the first time since 1997. Ludwick hit the first pitch from Ryota Igarashi over the left field wall to score Wainwright, who had doubled off Pedro Feliciano with one out.

Ludwick, who hit 22 homers in 2009 and 37 in '08, finally had his first this season.

"I was beginning to wonder if I could even hit a homer anymore," Ludwick said. "It felt nice, especially in that moment, that scenario."

Tobi Stoner (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day, allowed a run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings. Angel Pagan had two hits and two RBI.

Ludwick was 2 for 2 and walked three times, matching his career best and doubling his season total, and Matt Holliday was 3 for 3 with a walk to end an 0-for-16 slump while also shaking off flu-like symptoms that dogged him earlier in the weekend.

Mostly, the Cardinals leaned heavily on stingy starting pitching that allowed four earned runs in 45 innings during a 4-2 homestand while surmounting a lack of clutch hitting.

St. Louis stranded 10 runners, four times leaving two on, a day after 22 men were left on in the marathon loss to the Mets. Albert Pujols was 0 for 5, only the 24th time in 1,411 career games that he'd gone hitless in five or more at-bats.

"Hitting is the toughest," La Russa said. "The way to correct it is to do things right and let things happen. We've got to discipline ourselves."

Wainwright (3-0) allowed only four singles and needed 107 pitches. Plus he shook off a costly early error a day after receiving his first Gold Glove. The Mets bunched three of the hits in a three-run second, one of the runs unearned after Wainwright's wild throw.

"I slipped and made a bad throw into right field," Wainwright said. "Other than that I felt very good all day."

New York had no extra-base hits the final two games of the series.

"Pitching-wise, I think we'll be OK," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Offensively, we've got to take it up a notch. We need to get that squared away."

Rasmus' third homer tied it at 3 in the fifth against John Maine, who has allowed four homers his first three starts. The Cardinals had at least two baserunners all five innings against Maine, who threw 115 pitches and hasn't lasted longer than five innings in any of his first three starts.

"I don't think it's going to be too long before I'm comfortable again," Maine said. "Throwing has never been this hard before. I've got to keep working."

The lone assist by the Mets in the first five innings was right fielder Jeff Francoeur's throw to the plate to nail Ludwick trying to score from second for the final out in the first.

The Mets were 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position the first two games before getting a pair of hits plus Wainwright's crucial throwing error for a 3-0 lead in the second. Gary Matthews Jr. singled to load the bases before Pagan's two-run single.

Pagan was stranded between first and second when Wainwright, backing up on a late throw to the plate, motioned to first baseman Albert Pujols and then floated a high throw into right field that allowed Matthews to score and Pagan to advance to third.

Notes
  • Pujols received his MVP and Silver Slugger awards in a pregame ceremony.
  • Cardinals C Yadier Molina played all 20 innings Saturday and played the whole game Sunday.
  • The Cardinals are 8-4, taking two of three in all four series.
 
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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The Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick breaks a 3-3 tie with his two-run shot in the eighth inning.  (AP)
The Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick breaks a 3-3 tie with his two-run shot in the eighth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

R. Ludwick
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

A. Pagan
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4000012 .154
Alex Cora, 2B3000000 .167
    Ryota Igarashi, P0000000 .000
David Wright, 3B4000022 .244
Frank Catalanotto, 1B-LF^1B3110100 .154
Jeff Francoeur, RF3100101 .356
Gary Matthews Jr., CF3110020 .200
    Tobi Stoner, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
    Jason Bay, LF1000000 .217
Rod Barajas, C3000013 .220
Angel Pagan, LF-CF3022010 .303
John Maine, P1000011 .000
    Fernando Tatis, 1B-2B1000010 .167
Totals2934229  
Batting
SH - John Maine (1)
RBI - Angel Pagan 2 (4)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1
New York Mets
John Maine 5633441 10.38
Tobi Stoner (L,0-1) 2.1311100 3.86
Pedro Feliciano 0.1000010 0.00
Ryota Igarashi 0.1111001 1.50
HBP - Freese (by John Maine)
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 115-70, Tobi Stoner 38-22, Pedro Feliciano 8-6, Ryota Igarashi 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tobi Stoner 4-3
Batters Faced - John Maine 25, Tobi Stoner 11, Pedro Feliciano 1, Ryota Igarashi 2
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B4000012 .233
   a- Felipe Lopez, PH-2B1000011 .235
Ryan Ludwick, RF2222300 .304
Albert Pujols, 1B5000005 .327
Matt Holliday, LF3130101 .311
Colby Rasmus, CF4113013 .188
Yadier Molina, C4000011 .205
David Freese, 3B3010001 .353
Brendan Ryan, SS4020001 .171
Adam Wainwright, P3110113 .222
Totals33510555  
a-struck out for Schumaker in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Ludwick (1, Maine), Matt Holliday (3, Stoner), Adam Wainwright (2, Stoner)
HR - Ryan Ludwick (1, Igarashi), Colby Rasmus (3, Maine)
RBI - Ryan Ludwick 2 (5), Colby Rasmus 3 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Ludwick 2 (3)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Ryan-Schumaker-Pujols
E - Adam Wainwright (1, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright (W,3-0) 9432290 1.50
HBP - Cora (by Adam Wainwright)
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 107-75
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 8-9
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 33
Game Information
Attendance - 40007
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Kerwin Danley, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor