Pujols’ 2-run homer in 14th lifts Cards past Mets
NEW YORK (AP)—Albert Pujols snapped out of a funk with one big night. Tony La Russa hopes the Cardinals have done the same thing.
Pujols hit a two-run homer in the 14th inning to match a career high with five hits, Skip Schumaker added a career-best six hits and St. Louis beat the New York Mets 10-8 Saturday to snap a season-worst five-game losing streak.
“You want to know whether we’re gutsy or not? Watch that game,” La Russa said.
Schumaker singled with one out in the 14th against a tiring Aaron Heilman (1-4). Ryan Ludwick struck out before Pujols hit a 2-0 pitch into the bleachers in left field for his 19th homer of the year and first since connecting for No. 300 on July 4.
Brad Thompson (3-2) worked two perfect innings for the victory.
“We got the win, man, that’s what it’s about,” said Pujols, who struck out three times in the series opener and was hitless in his last 11 at-bats coming in. “To stop our losing streak is huge. Sometimes things like this get a ballclub going.”
Schumaker did his part, becoming the first Cardinals player to have six hits in a game since Terry Moore on Sept. 5, 1935, against Boston.
“I’m happy for him,” Pujols said. “It was a great win.”
One that came after struggling Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin blew his second straight save, surrendering a leadoff homer to Fernando Tatis in the ninth inning. Rick Ankiel leaped for it at the wall and crashed to the warning track, and for a moment the entire stadium wondered whether he had caught it.
Ankiel stood up and slapped his empty glove in frustration, and Tatis finished rounding the bases to tie it at 8. It was the fifth homer Franklin has allowed in his last nine outings.
The Mets had several chances to win it in extra innings.
Pinch-hitter Ramon Castro grounded out with runners at second and third to end the 11th, and New York loaded the bases with three straight two-out walks in the 12th before Kelvin Jimenez got Tatis to break his bat on a harmless bouncer back to the pitcher.
“We had chances, we just couldn’t push it across,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “It was just one of those nights.”
The game lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes, and the teams combined to use 16 pitchers—17, if you count Cardinals starter Braden Looper striking out as a pinch hitter in the 13th.
Filling in for Pedro Martinez, who is on the bereavement list following the death of his father, Brandon Knight made his first major league start and surrendered four runs in the first before shutting out the Cardinals over the next four innings and leaving with a 5-4 lead.
St. Louis went ahead in the sixth. Pujols, Glaus and Molina had RBI singles before Miles doubled in Glaus to make it 8-5, drawing a chorus of boos from the Shea Stadium crowd.
Delgado hit a two-run homer in the bottom half, his 11th in the last 26 games, getting the Mets close enough for Tatis to tie it in the ninth.
Knight allowed seven hits over five innings in his first appearance in six years, and the Mets will have to decide soon whether that’s enough to stick around. He was picked for the U.S. Olympic team headed to Beijing in a couple weeks, giving him a unique no-lose situation little more than a year after he considered hanging up his spikes.
Knight looked like he was going to make it an easy choice early on, falling into a four-run hole after the first inning. But Cardinals starter Joel Pineiro struggled even more, giving up a pair of runs in the first, two more in the third and the homer to Reyes leading off the fourth.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Knight, who was caught plenty of flak from Mets fans early in the game. “You know you are in New York when you get booed.”
Delgado’s two homers gave him 453, moving him past Carl Yastrzemski for 32nd place on the career list. … The Cardinals traded former major league starter Anthony Reyes to Cleveland for minor league reliever Luis Perdomo. … Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, out since the 2007 opener because of elbow ligament replacement surgery, is expected to start Wednesday against Atlanta, La Russa said. … Portly Mets C Robinson Cancel stole his first career base in the fifth inning.