ST. LOUIS (AP)—With one day left in May, Troy Glaus had a measly two homers.
He’s been back on his power profile since.
Glaus’ second homer of the game and 13th of the year with two outs in the ninth was the decisive blow, an inning after pinch-hitter Chris Duncan’s two-run shot tied it in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 8-7 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
“When you’ve played as long as he has, if he stays healthy you’re going to get something like that,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He takes a good swing in a clutch situation. He’s done a heck of a job for us.”
Glaus’ fifth career game-winner came off rookie Carlos Muniz (0-1), a towering drive that barely cleared the left-field wall. Rick Ankiel hit his 17th homer in the fifth and flied out to the wall in center field before Glaus’ at-bat.
Ankiel didn’t think his drive was gone, and Glaus wasn’t sure.
“I’ve lost a couple of homers in that area that I thought maybe could go,” Glaus said. “Whether it goes 20 rows deep or 2 feet over the fence, as long as they don’t catch it, it’s all good.”
Left fielder Endy Chavez made a good attempt at trying to catch it.
“I jumped and it hit the advertising sign behind the wall,” Chavez said. “I did everything right, I just didn’t get to it. I thought for a second I might have had it.”
Ryan Franklin (3-2) worked a perfect ninth for the Cardinals, who have won two of the first three games in the four-game set.
After the game, Muniz was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Glaus’ three-run shot capped a four-run first against struggling Pedro Martinez. The multihomer game was Glaus’ first since July 16, 2007, at New York against the Yankees, and the 26th of his career. It was Glaus’ first game-winning homer since June 10, 2005, against the Royals, when he was with Blue Jays.
Duncan had been 0-for-12 as a pinch-hitter and 0-for-2 with strikeouts in both career at-bats against Pedro Feliciano before lining a first-pitch fastball well over the right-field wall to tie it at 7.
“Duncan just went up there swinging,” Mets interim manager Jerry Manuel said. “He just hung on over the plate.”
Damion Easley had three hits and three RBIs for the Mets, including a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead hit in a three-run seventh while making his second straight start ahead of ailing Luis Castillo. David Wright also had three hits for New York, which had to overcome another poor start from Martinez.
“I know someday it has to stop,” Martinez said. “If I was to quit right now, I’d be a coward. You have a lot more chances of seeing me quit when things are going smooth than right now.”
The Mets victimized Mark Mulder, making his second career relief appearance, in a three-run seventh that put them ahead 7-5. Mulder, who returned from a pair of shoulder operations with a scoreless ninth in a 7-1 victory in the series opener Monday, botched a tougher task when he allowed two hits and hit a batter in one-third of an inning.
Ankiel had an RBI single ahead of Glaus’ first-inning homer and Ankiel’s 17th of the season off Martinez put the Cardinals ahead 5-4. He’s 12-for-36 with five homers in a nine-game hitting streak.
Martinez has surrendered 17 runs on 22 hits in 15 innings in his last three starts. Manuel put the three-time Cy Young winner on regular rest ahead of Mike Pelfrey, who also pitched in a doubleheader against the Yankees on Friday, in the hope it might help him get into a groove.
Martinez settled in, but only after a disastrous first in which he allowed hits to five of the first six batters. Glaus had been 4-for-26 with 16 strikeouts, a homer and two RBIs against Martinez before homering to straightaway center on a full count.
“I haven’t faced Pedro in a long time,” Glaus said. “Obviously, he’s not 96-97 (mph), but you know, he knows how to pitch, he knows what he’s doing.”
The Mets cut the gap to a run with three runs on four hits in the third, including Carlos Beltran’s RBI double and a two-run single by Easley. New York tied it in the fourth on Jose Reyes’ major league-leading ninth triple, combined with a throwing error by left fielder Skip Schumaker.
Reyes had held up when Schumaker overthrew a relay home on Chavez’s flyout to medium left, then scored easily when the ball sailed over catcher Jason LaRue’s outstretched glove.
Cardinals starter Joel Pineiro gave up 11 hits and four runs in five innings and is 0-2 in nine starts since his last victory April 29 over Cincinnati.
The game was delayed 47 minutes in the bottom of the third, and rain was beginning to fall again as the game ended. … Wright is batting .414 (24-for-58) in his last 16 games. … The Cardinals have three game-winning homers, with Ryan Ludwick and Schumaker hitting one apiece. … Duncan has six career pinch homers, and this was the first since June 16, 2007, at Oakland.