St. Louis at New York

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St. Louis (28-27) «000100220580
N.Y. Mets (31-24)000100210461

Cards top Mets, halt five-game skid

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Mike Matheny tried all sorts of things to snap the Cardinals out of their hitting funk.

The St. Louis manager let his players show up late to the ballpark. He gave Yadier Molina a rare chance to bat cleanup. He encouraged star Carlos Beltran to swing away at a 3-0 pitch.

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Not a whole lot worked, though. Not until Allen Craig provided what any struggling team will always take -- a big home run.

Craig hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Cardinals found a bit of absent pop, beating the New York Mets 5-4 Monday and stopping their season-worst losing streak at five.

The Cardinals have never been swept in a four-game series in New York. The World Series champions had been outscored 19-1 by the Mets and no-hit by Johan Santana before salvaging the finale at Citi Field.

"Doesn't take much. Just a win," Matheny said. "That was much needed, and nobody needed it more than we did. It will change the atmosphere around here. You never know which win will be the one that helps you take off."

St. Louis seemed headed for another rough day at the plate when five of its first seven batters struck out. All told, the Cardinals fanned 41 times in the series.

"Even early on, we started out with a few strikeouts. It's just one of those periods you go through," Matheny said. "You just got to keep working, keep fighting. You've got to trust yourself and, fortunately, we got a couple of big hits when we needed them and that's the thing we were missing."

Pinch hitter Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda homered for the Mets, who missed a chance to move all alone into the NL East lead.

After playing the Mets on Sunday night, Matheny permitted his players to report late on a rainy morning, with most of them getting to the ballpark about two hours before game time.

Craig connected one out after Matt Holliday hit a leadoff single against Jon Rauch (3-5) for a 5-3 lead.

"I knew it was a big hit," Craig said. "We're too talented to stay in a slump too long."

"I don't know if I would say we were antsy," he said. "We have a really good offensive team, but we're not going to go out there and hit every game."

The Mets cut the deficit in the bottom half when Andres Torres hit a long sacrifice fly, but closer Jason Motte retired David Wright on an inning-ending liner to right field with a runner at third base.

Motte finished for his ninth save in 12 chances. Marc Rzepczynski (1-3) wound up with the win despite allowing Hairston's eighth career pinch-hit homer in the seventh, a two-run shot with two outs that made it 3-all.

Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse pitched six sharp innings and allowed only two hits, including Duda's solo homer halfway up the second deck in the fourth.

Dillon Gee limited the Cardinals to Craig's RBI single before his throwing error in the seventh broke a tie game.

"Obviously, it wasn't a no-hitter or another shutout," Gee said. "But I pitched well."

With runners at the corners, no outs and the score 1-all, Gee gloved Daniel Descalso's comebacker and looked Craig back to third. Gee then tried to start a double play, but bounced his throw into center field and twisted his head in disgust. The go-ahead run scored on the error, and Rafael Furcal's RBI grounder made it 3-1.

The Cardinals took their first lead of the series in the fourth. Holliday led off with a double, moved up on a groundout and scored when Craig bounced a single through the partly pulled-in infield.

Notes

  • Rauch has tenderness in his right elbow and will be checked by a doctor. He has lost five straight decisions.
  • Wright scored his 735th run, tying the Mets record set by Jose Reyes.
  • Mets LHP Johan Santana will make his next start Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Mets wanted to give him extra rest after threw a career-high 134 pitches Friday night in the team's first no-hitter. The NL Player of the Week is keeping busy, though -- he was presenting the Top Ten list on David Letterman's "Late Show" on Monday night.
  • Mets RHP Chris Young, who missed most of last season because of shoulder surgery and has been in the minors this year, is ready to start Tuesday night at Washington.
  • OF Jason Bay (broken rib) felt ill and won't rejoin the Mets on Tuesday, manager Terry Collins said.
  • Cardinals CF Shane Robinson again was out of the starting lineup. He was scratched Sunday night with a migraine.
  • Matheny was eager to see Monday night's MLB draft. His son, Tate, is a CF who led his high school to the state title and is widely regarded as the best prep player in the St. Louis area.
  • The Mets swept a four-game series at St. Louis in 1986.
 
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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Allen Craig's two-run HR in the eighth inning breaks a tie game and puts the Cards past the Mets to avoid a four-game sweep.  (US Presswire)
Allen Craig's two-run HR in the eighth inning breaks a tie game and puts the Cards past the Mets to avoid a four-game sweep. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Craig
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

D. Gee
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 2
K 8
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS5011012 .316
Carlos Beltran, RF5000024 .277
Matt Holliday, LF4220000 .276
Yadier Molina, C4000022 .328
Allen Craig, 1B3223110 .355
David Freese, 3B4120011 .263
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Daniel Descalso, 2B-3B3000121 .235
Adron Chambers, CF3010101 .294
Kyle Lohse, P2000001 .045
   a- Matt Adams, PH1000013 .277
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
    Eduardo Sanchez, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Greene, 2B0000000 .212
Totals34584310  
a-struck out for Lohse in the 7th
Batting
2B - Matt Holliday (9, Gee)
HR - Allen Craig (6, Rauch)
SH - Tyler Greene (1)
RBI - Rafael Furcal (24), Allen Craig 3 (22)
SB - Rafael Furcal (9, 2nd base off Gee/Nickeas), Daniel Descalso (2, 2nd base off Gee/Nickeas)
Team LOB - 6
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Lohse 6211031 3.21
Marc Rzepczynski (BS,4; W,1-3) 1222011 5.06
Eduardo Sanchez (H,1) 0.2211000 3.24
Jason Motte (S,9) 1.1000020 3.09
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 76-48, Marc Rzepczynski 16-11, Eduardo Sanchez 10-5, Jason Motte 23-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 8-7, Marc Rzepczynski 2-0
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 20, Marc Rzepczynski 5, Eduardo Sanchez 4, Jason Motte 4
New York Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF4010011 .299
Andres Torres, CF3001000 .225
David Wright, 3B4110001 .361
Lucas Duda, RF4111000 .258
Daniel Murphy, 2B4000011 .301
Ike Davis, 1B2000000 .164
   a- Scott Hairston, PH1112000 .278
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .000
   b- Jordany Valdespin, PH1000010 .087
Omar Quintanilla, SS3010020 .316
Mike Nickeas, C2000001 .143
   c- Josh Thole, PH-C1110000 .290
Dillon Gee, P2000011 .059
    Vinny Rottino, 1B1000001 .190
Totals3246406  
a-homered for Davis in the 7th
b-struck out for Parnell in the 9th
c-singled for Nickeas in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kirk Nieuwenhuis (8, Sanchez), Omar Quintanilla (3, Lohse)
HR - Lucas Duda (9, Lohse), Scott Hairston (7, Rzepczynski)
SF - Andres Torres (1)
RBI - Andres Torres (15), Lucas Duda (32), Scott Hairston 2 (23)
2-OUT RBI - Lucas Duda (16), Scott Hairston 2 (9)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Gee-Murphy-Davis
E - Dillon Gee (2, Throwing)
New York Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dillon Gee 7632280 4.48
Jon Rauch (L,3-5) 0.2222011 4.76
Tim Byrdak 0.1000110 3.00
Bobby Parnell 1000000 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Dillon Gee 106-67, Jon Rauch 17-10, Tim Byrdak 12-7, Bobby Parnell 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dillon Gee 8-5, Bobby Parnell 2-1
Batters Faced - Dillon Gee 29, Jon Rauch 4, Tim Byrdak 2, Bobby Parnell 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25830
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 59
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Field Culbreth