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Wigginton propels Cardinals past Mets

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Ty Wigginton hasn't had many chances to help the National League's best team this season, so when the opportunity presented itself Monday night, he hustled St. Louis to a win.

After turning a short fly ball into a double in the bottom of the seventh, Wigginton scored the go-ahead run on a ball which didn't even get past the pitcher's mound as the Cardinals knocked off the New York Mets, 6-3.

Lance Lynn (6-1) overcame five walks and 124 pitches over seven innings to win for the 11th time in 12 decisions, dating back to last year. Matt Holliday belted a two-run homer as St. Louis improved to 24-13 and upped its Central Division lead over Cincinnati to 2 1/2 games.

But it was Wigginton's contribution which everyone in the Cardinal clubhouse was talking about after the game.

"That was outstanding baserunning," said second baseman Matt Carpenter, who hit the ball on which Wigginton scored. "That's great awareness of where he was on the play."

With one out, Wigginton's looper to center field became a double when a diving Rick Ankiel couldn't hold on to the ball and then saw it squirt away from him. Running hard out of the batter's box, Wigginton slid safely into second.

"If I get my glove on the ball, I should catch it," Ankiel said.

Carpenter then lashed the first pitch off the leg of Scott Rice (1-3), the ball trickling into foul ground between first and home. Noticing that no one immediately covered the plate, Wigginton rounded third and beat Rice's late tag for a 4-3 St. Louis lead.

"When I was breaking to third, I saw (catcher John) Buck go after the ball," Wigginton said. "Home plate was open so I took the chance. You're your best coach there. The play is in front of you."

It was just the fifth hit this year for Wigginton, who signed with the Cardinals Dec. 17 as a free agent. The corner infielder has belted 169 homers in 11-plus Major League seasons, but hasn't cracked the Cardinal lineup with the likes of Allen Craig, Matt Adams and David Freese in front of him.

"Ty's been a great teammate," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "There hasn't been a lot of opportunity for him. For him to stay sharp and take advantage of that situation on the base paths says a lot for him."

Holliday then tacked on his homer, a 425-foot blast over the wall in left-center off reliever Scott Atchison that gave the Cardinals a three-run advantage. It was Holliday's sixth homer of the season.

Atchison, who's pitched in 19 of New York's first 35 games, said he was having trouble feeling the ball and would have his elbow checked out Tuesday.

While the Mets' bullpen gave up a run for the sixth straight game, St. Louis' relievers worked two scoreless innings. Edward Mujica pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save in as many chances.

It was a walk-fest early as both starting pitchers -- Lynn and the Mets' Jeremy Hefner -- struggled with their command. They combined for 12 three-ball counts, eight by Lynn, and nine walks in the first five innings.

St. Louis touched Hefner for two runs in the bottom of the first. Craig lashed a double that bounced into the seats down the left field line to score Carpenter, and Jon Jay's sacrifice fly to left plated Holliday.

New York (14-21) responded with three in its half of the second, all with two outs. Daniel Murphy laced a two-run double to right-center field as Carlos Beltran appeared to lose the ball in the setting sun. Murphy scored from second on David Wright's infield single that trickled off the glove of shortstop Daniel Descalso.

Carpenter evened the score at 3 in the Cardinals' second with an RBI single. Both starters settled down from there as Lynn retired 16 of the last 18 men he faced and Hefner 13 of his last 14.

But it was St. Louis that walked off the field bumping fists, thanks to the rarely-used Wigginton.

"It was a good team win," Matheny said.

NOTES: The Mets signed Ankiel on Monday, three days after his release from Houston. He batted .194 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 25 games for the Astros. ... To make room for Ankiel, New York sent OF Andrew Brown down to Triple-A Las Vegas and transferred RHP Jenrry Mejia (elbow) to the 60-day disabled list. ... St. Louis entered Monday night with the majors' top batting average in May at .302. The Los Angeles Dodgers ranked second at .294.
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