ST. LOUIS (AP)—Jim Edmonds was tired and eager to end the game.
Edmonds said he’s been tired since the Cardinals’ 20-inning victory at Florida on Sunday.
“I just prefer to go home,” said Edmonds, who played only three innings Wednesday because of fatigue. “I don’t want to play too many more extra-inning games. That 20-inning game took a lot out of me.”
The NL Central champions, who won the first two games 13-3 and 13-4, moved two games above .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season. New York has lost five in a row and is 11-17 overall, last place in the NL East, despite a $117 million payroll.
“It was a tough loss, but it’s one you can live with,” manager Art Howe said. “We battled right to the end.”
Rey Sanchez had four hits as the Mets rallied from a 5-1 run, sixth-inning deficit, with a run in the seventh and three more in the eighth. The big blow was Joe McEwing’s two-run double off the top of the left field wall off Steve Kline. Pinch-hitter Roberto Alomar tied it with a sacrifice fly off Dustin Hermanson.
McEwing, who had been 2-for-18 before the hit, preserved the tie when he snared Mike Matheny’s one-hop smash with a runner on second for the last out in the bottom of the eighth. He was a fan favorite when he played for the Cardinals in 1998 and ’99.
“That’s why his spikes are in my office,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He just about takes that game away from us, offense and defense.”
With one out in the 10th, Edmonds homered over the left field wall on a 1-2 down-and-away pitch from Strickland (0-2). Edmonds thought it was a double, but it just kept carrying.
“I’m still a little bit amazed he hit it out,” Strickland said. “You make a good pitch and you’re supposed to get rewarded. I didn’t.”
Cal Eldred (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win.
Scott Rolen provided breathing room with a three-run double to chase Trachsel with none out in the sixth. Edgar Renteria was 4-for-4 for his NL-leading 16th multihit game, raising his average to .366.
Unlike the first two games of the series, in which the Cardinals scored nine runs in the first inning, they had to wait for offense. In the first inning Thursday, they went down in order.
The Mets scored playing smallball in the first on a leadoff hit by Roger Cedeno, a sacrifice and Cliff Floyd’s RBI double. They got only one hit off Tomko the next five innings before chasing him with three hits in the seventh, including Jay Bell’s RBI single.
Tomko allowed three hits and had two strikeouts and two walks. Both of his strikeouts, against Mo Vaughn and Ty Wigginton, came in big spots after Mike Piazza walked and advanced on a wild pitch with one out in the sixth.
Piazza returned to the Mets’ lineup after missing a game with a swollen left knee and was 1-for-4.
Trachsel gave up five runs on eight hits in five-plus innings and has nodecisions in his last five starts.
Sanchez made his first start in seven games after being sidelined with an elbow injury. He played as a reserve on Wednesday. He has 10 career four-hit games, the last on May 31, 2001, at Texas. … Cardinals 1B Tino Martinez served the final game of a three-game suspension for a fight with Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Batista on April 20. … Cardinals C Mike Matheny has caught all but 17 innings this season. … Renteria has 10 career four-hit games. … The Cardinals are 3-1 in extra innings. … The Cardinals have two series sweeps this year and this was their first against the Mets since Aug. 10-12, 2001, atNew York.