Flushing, NY (Sports Network) – The New York Mets never led against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night until Angel Pagan won it in the bottom of the 10th inning with a solo home run to right field in a 6-5 victory at Citi Field.
It was Pagan’s fourth home run of the season for the Mets, who have won two straight and will look for a three-game sweep of the Cardinals on Thursday. Carlos Beltran, the subject of trade rumors with the deadline quickly approaching, belted a two-run homer in a winning effort.
Josh Thole finished with two hits, two RBI and a run scored, while veteran closer Jason Isringhausen was able to beat his former team with two scoreless innings of relief. He also tallied three strikeouts and was one of four relievers to take the hill in place of starter R.A. Dickey. Dickey did not figure into the decision and was reached for four runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings of work.
Matt Holliday registered three hits, two RBI and a pair of runs scored, as the Cardinals suffered their third straight loss and seventh in 10 tries. Gerald Laird had an RBI bunt and ended with two hits, while Skip Schumaker contributed two hits and two runs scored in defeat.
Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan didn’t have a great outing and allowed four runs and six hits in six innings for the no-decision. McClellan is still winless in his last eight starts (0-5).
The action started in the eighth inning with the score knotted at 4-4. Holliday singled leading off and took second on a heads-up play on the bases after Lance Berkman flied out to left field. Holliday kept his legs moving to third on a David Freese groundout and was joined on the base paths when Colby Rasmus drew an intentional walk.
Laird saw that Mets third baseman Daniel Murphy was playing deep and placed a perfect bunt down the line, enabling a hustling Holliday to come home for a 5-4 edge. The Mets, though, would tie it in the bottom of the eighth on Thole’s RBI single with two outs. Pagan got the inning started with a hit, advanced to second one out later and took third following Lucas Duda’s dribbler to the mound. Jason Motte then took the mound for Lance Lynn, but Thole greeted him by lacing a single to left field to score Pagan.
Pagan then made a winner out of Isringhausen (2-0) by sending Fernando Salas’ offering to the seats in right field. Salas (5-4) was dealt the loss.
“I was just trying to get something done for the team,” Pagan said. “I wasn’t looking for a home run. We’re just trying to win ballgames.”
New York may not have outfielder Jason Bay for Thursday’s series finale with St. Louis after he exited in the fourth inning with a hamstring injury. Willie Harris went 0-for-3 as Bay’s replacement. Bay said it was more of a proactive move to come out and will see how it feels Thursday.
The Cardinals held a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead after three innings, but the Mets were able to cut the deficit in half by the bottom of the frame.
Schumaker led off the game with a double to right and was moved to third on Jon Jay’s sacrifice bunt. He then scored on Holliday’s sacrifice fly to center. Holliday’s RBI double and Berkman’s run-scoring single highlighted a three-run third inning for a four-run cushion.
New York pushed two runs across with no outs in the home third, when Duda singled leading off and raced home on Thole’s ensuing two-base hit. Dickey helped his own cause by plating Thole with a single for a 4-2 score.
Beltran laid into a McClellan pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning, sending an offering into the upper deck in right field to even the score. Dickey singled to start the inning and was out at second following Jose Reyes’ fielder’s choice. After Justin Turner went down swinging, Beltran clubbed his 15th homer to make it a 4-4 contest. Beltran returned from a three-day bout with the flu in Tuesday’s 4-2 win in the series opener.
“You tip your hat,” McClellan said of the homer. “He fouled off essentially a similar pitch right before that and then he didn’t foul that one off (on the homer).”
Albert Pujols pinch-hit for Jay in the top of the seventh with two outs and Daniel Descalso on third base, but Mets reliever Pedro Beato got the three- time NL MVP to pop out to end the inning. Pujols was not in the starting lineup and finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout for St. Louis, which is 1-4 on a nine-game road trip that concludes in Pittsburgh this weekend.