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ST. LOUIS -- To compensate for early exits, Jonathon Niese did some extra throwing in his bullpen session. Besides the work, manager Terry Collins thought it was no coincidence the lefty rediscovered his groove in shirt-sleeve weather and paved the way for the New York Mets' slump-buster.
"I knew he was going to get it going," Collins said after Niese's bounce-back game on a clear, sunny, 76-degree day helped the Mets end their losing streak at six with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. "As the weather starts to get warm, you're going to see the Jon Niese we're all accustomed to seeing."
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Niese (3-4) allowed two runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season. He ended his four-game losing streak over five starts since a win at Minnesota on April 12.
"Every pitch felt good," Niese said. "Obviously, our game plan was just to keep attacking the hitters. Yeah, it felt good."
The Mets avoided a four-game sweep by getting to the Cardinals ace. Wainwright (5-3) was coming off a two-hit shutout in which he no-hit the Rockies for 7 1/3 innings.
"They had a great frame of mind," Collins said. "I thought they had great energy. Jon pitching well really helped us, too."
Murphy went 4 for 4 to match his career high, doubled twice and walked and totaled 10 hits in the series. He's 6 for 9 against Wainwright, and swinging well enough that Collins has thought about moving him from the second slot to fifth for RBI potential.
"I think we were just able to string together a lot of quality at-bats," Murphy said. "There were a lot of good at-bats other than mine. It was nice to be able to feel you contribute."
Wright doubled, singled and drove in two runs, plus started two double plays at third base against cleanup man Allen Craig.
"That's the name of the game sometimes," Craig said. "You hit it hard and it goes right at them."
The Cardinals have never swept the Mets in a four-game series at home, almost always playing three-game sets.
Wainwright faltered after allowing one hit with four strikeouts the first time through the order, but after his outing ended at 87 pitches he confessed, "Yeah, I was surprised." He allowed three earned runs in six innings, and is 1-4 with a 7.29 ERA against the Mets for his career.
"I made a couple of mistakes over the middle of the plate," Wainwright said. "I don't think it's time to start talking about fatigue or anything like that."
Niese had permitted 15 runs in 8 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, but kept the Cardinals off-balance.
Niese is 3-1 in five starts against the Cardinals. He had three strikeouts and two walks to make him even on the year with 24 strikeouts and walks.
Bobby Parnell finished for his fourth save in six chances.
Newly signed Mets center fielder Rick Ankiel appeared to get a late jump on Kozma's apparent routine fly ball and couldn't make a diving catch for an RBI double that put the Cardinals in front in the second.
Jordany Valdespin beat out a bunt with two outs in the Mets' third and scored on a headfirst slide on Murphy's double. Wright's single put the Mets ahead.
Murphy and Wright doubled to start the sixth to give Niese a two-run cushion. Wright later scored on Lucas Duda's sacrifice fly.
Murphy leads the Mets with 13 multihit games and is a career .360 hitter against the Cardinals.
Ankiel was credited with a ground-rule double leading off the seventh on a ball down the third-base line that appeared to glance off an usher's leg before hitting a railing. He was thrown out at second off the carom, and replays showed the usher barely made it out of the way.
|Daniel Murphy is a popular man among the Mets after going 4 for 4 and wrapping up the series with 10 hits. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|New York Mets|
|Jordany Valdespin, RF||5||1||1||0||0||1||2||.233|
|Bobby Parnell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Daniel Murphy, 2B||4||2||4||1||1||0||0||.297|
|David Wright, 3B||5||1||2||2||0||0||4||.299|
|Ike Davis, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||4||5||.157|
|Lucas Duda, LF||2||1||1||1||1||0||0||.211|
|Juan Lagares, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.139|
|John Buck, C||4||0||1||1||0||2||0||.233|
|Rick Ankiel, CF-RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.203|
|Ruben Tejada, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.223|
|Jonathon Niese, P||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.154|
|Brandon Lyon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Mike Baxter, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.231|
|a-struck out for Lyon in the 9th|
|2B - Daniel Murphy 2 (13, Wainwright, Wainwright), David Wright (7, Wainwright), Lucas Duda (6, Salas), Rick Ankiel (4, Choate)|
|SF - Lucas Duda (1)|
|RBI - Daniel Murphy (17), David Wright 2 (26), Lucas Duda (14), John Buck (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Daniel Murphy (9), David Wright (6)|
|CS - Lucas Duda (1, 2nd base by Wainwright/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Wright-Murphy-Davis, Wright-Murphy-Davis|
|New York Mets|
|Jonathon Niese (W,3-4)||7.1||6||2||2||2||3||0||5.40|
|Brandon Lyon (H,5)||0.2||1||0||0||0||0||0||3.45|
|Bobby Parnell (S,4)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jonathon Niese 113-76, Brandon Lyon 7-4, Bobby Parnell 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathon Niese 13-5, Brandon Lyon 1-0, Bobby Parnell 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jonathon Niese 29, Brandon Lyon 2, Bobby Parnell 4|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Matt Carpenter, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.295|
|Shane Robinson, CF||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.176|
|Carlos Beltran, RF||4||0||3||1||0||0||0||.309|
|Allen Craig, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.293|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|David Freese, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.209|
|a- Daniel Descalso, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Ty Wigginton, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.179|
|b- Matt Adams, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.485|
|Pete Kozma, SS||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.252|
|Adam Wainwright, P||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.174|
|Randy Choate, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Fernando Salas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Jon Jay, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.274|
|Joe Kelly, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-popped out for Freese in the 9th|
|b-singled for Wigginton in the 9th|
|c-grounded out for Salas in the 8th|
|2B - Matt Carpenter (13, Niese), Carlos Beltran (4, Niese), Pete Kozma (5, Niese)|
|RBI - Carlos Beltran (27), Pete Kozma (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - Pete Kozma (5)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Molina-M. Carpenter|
|E - Carlos Beltran (2, Misplayed grounder), Shane Robinson (1, Throwing)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adam Wainwright (L,5-3)||6||6||4||3||1||8||0||2.51|
|Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 87-57, Randy Choate 15-8, Fernando Salas 25-16, Joe Kelly 21-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 5-4, Joe Kelly 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 24, Randy Choate 5, Fernando Salas 6, Joe Kelly 5|
|Attendance - 44068|
|Game Time - 2:53|
|Temperature - 74|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Mark Wegner|