The Mets go for consecutive wins against the Cardinals when they play the middle game of their series at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
St. Louis had won 17 of the last 21 games with New York and 16 of the last 19 games at home, but the Mets broke through with an 8-3 win in the series opener Tuesday night, a game delayed 1 hour, 41 minutes by rain.
The Mets (24-14) also held Pujols in check. The Cardinals slugger, who is the fastest player to 19 homers in major league history, was held hitless for the second straight game and only the third time in the last 10 games.
Pujols, who hasn’t had a hit in his last nine at-bats, is 4-for-9, but has yet to homers in his career against Steve Trachsel (2-3, 4.91 ERA), the Mets’ starter on Wednesday.
Pujols, the reigning NL MVP, slipped trying to make a catch in the on-deck circle following after rain delay and fell hard but stayed in the game. Pujols, who missed a game earlier this season with a sore back, needs one homer to move past Mark McGwire into sole possession of fourth place on the Cards’ all-time list.
McGwire and Pujols each have 220 homers.
The Mets, who had lost five of their previous seven games, took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on Paul Lo Duca’s tiebreaking RBI double before the rain came. After the delay, New York added four runs in the eighth inning to improve to 3-4 on this nine-game road trip.
“I want to be up in that situation,” Lo Duca said. “I take pride in getting the job done when I have to in big situations.”
Trachsel’s history against the Cardinals suggests it might be tougher for the Mets to win this contest. The veteran right-hander, who is 9-8 with a 4.50 ERA in 26 career starts against the Cardinals (24-15), hasn’t beaten St. Louis since Sept. 22, 1999.
Trachsel also will be looking for his first win in St. Louis since July 20, 1996. He has lost his last five decisions there and his team has lost all of nine of his starts since he got that victory while with the Chicago Cubs.
After winning seven of eight, the Cardinals have lost two two straight.
Mark Mulder (4-1, 4.27) looks for his third straight victory on Wednesday. He earned his second win in as many starts after giving up two runs and six hits while striking out a season-high six in a 5-3 win Friday over Arizona.
Mulder, though, has struggled with control, allowing eight homers in just 52 2-3 innings.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m going to be a pretty good pitcher when I quit giving up homers,” said Mulder, who is tied with Jason Marquis for the team lead in homers allowed. “It’s one or two mistakes a game and they’re hitting every one of them.”
Mulder gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings in his only career start against the Mets on May 14, 2005.
Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds went 1-for-3 Tuesday and is hitting .444 (16-for-36) during a season-high 11-game hitting streak.
Edmonds was batting .200 when the streak began on May 2 and has raised his average 76 points. He is 2-for-9 with a homer and two RBIs in his career against Trachsel.