Cardinals 5, Mets 3, 11 innings
Ryan connected in the 11th inning and the Cardinals snapped the New York Mets’ four-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Tuesday night.
Quite a big hit for a guy who had only six homers in more than 1,000 minor league at-bats.
“It was probably the biggest swing of my life to this point,” the rookie said. “I’m not expecting to hit too many of those.”
In fact, Ryan said he originally had a drag bunt in mind, but third baseman David Wright seemed to be expecting it. Ryan swung away instead.
“I put the bat on the ball and it just went,” he said.
Ryan also made a stellar defensive play in the seventh. Showing tremendous range at second base, he robbed Jose Valentin of a hit by leaping for a blooper that would have landed well into center field.
Down to their final strike in the ninth, the Mets tied it at 3 when Shawn Green drew a walk against closer Jason Isringhausen and scored on Valentin’s double. Isringhausen avoided further damage, however.
“I gave Mr. Ryan a chance to be a hero for the night,” he joked. “I’m happy for Ryan but I still didn’t do my job. Having him 0-2 and walking him, that’s not very good.”
The Cardinals soon recovered.
Ryan, called up June 16 to replace injured shortstop David Eckstein on the roster, had three hits and two RBIs. Scott Spiezio and Juan Encarnacion each drove in a run for St. Louis, which snapped an eight-game losing streak in the regular season against the NL East-leading Mets.
Ryan homered to left off Scott Schoeneweis (0-2), booed loudly when he left with two outs and runners on first and third. The Cardinals added another run when Valentin booted an easy chopper to second, allowing Adam Kennedy to score from third on the error.
“What can you do? I probably deserve it,” a distraught Schoeneweis said. “There’s really nothing worse that can happen.”
Mets manager Willie Randolph defended Schoeneweis.
“He started out popping the ball pretty good. He’s been throwing pretty well,” Randolph said. “He got the ball up in the zone and the kid made him pay for it. You’ve got to keep the ball down.”
Isringhausen got two quick outs in the ninth before walking Green, who hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning Monday night. With Green running on the pitch, Valentin doubled down the right-field line to tie it.
Brad Thompson (6-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Randy Flores got two outs for his first save, the third of his career and first since 2005. With a runner on second, he retired Green and Valentin to end it.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was happy about the win, but wasn’t beyond taking a quick shot at his closer.
“It’s more exciting to get three outs in the ninth,” La Russa said.
A night after managing just three hits, the Mets had six—four after the first inning.
The late Mets rally spoiled Todd Wellemeyer’s chance for a win in his best start since joining St. Louis’ rotation in late May.
Oliver Perez and Wellemeyer each allowed a run in the first before settling down and putting up zeros through the sixth.
Wellemeyer allowed a run and three hits in six innings, the longest he’s lasted in his six major league starts.
“He’s been very good,” La Russa said. “Every time he’s out there, he’s doing more.”
The Cardinals broke through for a run in the seventh after Perez allowed a single and a walk and was relieved by Aaron Heilman. So Taguchi flied out, and Spiezio hit a line drive up the middle that Heilman just managed to get a glove on. The ball deflected to Valentin and he had a chance to make the play, but he fumbled the ball. The single scored Ryan.
Ryan’s RBI single off Heilman in the eighth extended the lead to 3-1.
Taguchi singled in the ninth to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games. Ryan Ludwick struck out four times and went 1-for-5.
Cardinals RHP Troy Percival was called up from Triple-A Memphis before the game. Percival, who last pitched in the majors for Detroit on July 9, 2005, will be used in short relief, La Russa said. … 3B Scott Rolen was not in the lineup against the Mets, two days after fouling a ball off his left foot. After the game, Rolen said his foot was feeling better. La Russa said Rolen was day-to-day. … In Florida, Mets RHP Pedro Martinez threw to hitters for the first time since rotator cuff surgery last fall and said he felt good afterward, team spokesman Jay Horwitz said.