NEW YORK -- The word uttered most often when inclement weather threatens a Major League Baseball game is window -- as in, how long a precipitation-free window do the teams have to play the game?
Whatever the window was Thursday, Adam Wainwright was going to make sure the St. Louis Cardinals fit a win into it.
Wainwright pitched seven shutout innings of four-hit ball to become the first pitcher to reach 10 wins this season and Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had an RBI as the Cardinals edged the New York Mets 2-1 at a mostly empty Citi Field.
The announced crowd for the finale of the three-game series was 25,471, but the actual number was far less than half that, as most fans stayed away in anticipation of torrential daylong rains.
But after sporadic heavy showers in the morning, the skies cleared up shortly before noon, at which point Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Wainwright to prepare as if the game would start on time.
Wainwright, in turn, had a message that he relayed to Cardinals traveling secretary C.J. Cherre.
"I told our traveling secretary if they could just give me a couple hours -- just give me two hours -- then we'll make this thing happen," Wainwright said with a grin.
Wainwright and the Cardinals needed a little more time than that --two hours and 43 minutes, to be exact -- but not only did the game start on time at 1:11 p.m., it was completed without a single drop of rain falling.
That was good news for the Mets and Cardinals, who don't play again this season and whose next mutual off-day, June 24, comes in the middle of an 11-game, four-city road trip for the Mets and the day before the Cardinals start an eight-game, three-city trip.
"From what we heard two days ago, they were talking about (how) we were going to need to build an ark," Matheny said. "Fortunately, it worked out, because I didn't like any of the options they were talking about for us coming back here. Didn't look good at all."
Wainwright (10-3), on the other hand, looked like the Cy Young contender he has been on an almost annual basis since moving to the rotation in 2007. He walked two -- one intentionally -- and struck out six. He retired the first 11 batters he faced on just 34 pitches and allowed only two runners as far as second base.
Wainwright also got some help from his defense in breaking a five-way tie for the major-league lead in wins. With two runners on and two outs in the fourth, center fielder Jon Jay ended the Mets' biggest threat by catching Lucas Duda's long fly to right center at the wall.
Third baseman Daniel Descalso robbed John Buck of a hit with a runner on first in the seventh and made a nice charging play on Justin Turner's two-out grounder with runners on first and second.
In the ninth, after closer Edward Mujica gave up a one-out solo homer to Marlon Byrd and a double to Buck, Carpenter preserved the lead with a diving stop of Kirk Nieuwenhuis' grounder up the middle. Mujica struck out pinch-hitter Josh Satin to end the game.
"Great, outstanding defense," Wainwright said. "Our guys played a flawless game and luckily we came out on top."
Wainwright was almost matched pitch for pitch by Mets ace Matt Harvey (5-1), who allowed only one run, five hits and one walk while striking out seven in losing for the first time in 14 starts this season.
"(Mets manager) Terry (Collins) and I were both concerned about sending our guy out there -- really scary forecasts," Matheny said. "Fortunately, it worked out where we could get a game in. Neither guy disappointed, that's for sure."
The two pitchers worked as if they were trying to beat the weather and set a tone for the rapid game by combining to throw just 43 pitches -- including 32 strikes -- in the first two innings.
"When you're going up against a guy like Harvey, a guy who works fast and has great stuff, you know you're going to have a chance to have a quick game," Wainwright said. "So it was just my job to go out and get outs and trust our offense to score some runs."
The Cardinals went ahead in the third when Pete Kozma (3-for-4) singled with one out, went to second on Wainwright's bunt and scored when Carpenter tripled past a diving Byrd in right field.
Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig all had two hits for the Cardinals. Craig capped a four-hit eighth for St. Louis with an RBI single. Beltran extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Wright had three hits and Buck had two for the Mets, who have scored just 18 runs with Harvey on the mound in his last 10 starts, a stretch in which he is 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA.
"You look at a guy who with, probably, four more runs, is 8-0 or 9-0 coming into today," Collins said. "Maybe the game today, first loss of the year for him, gets it going and we start scoring some runs for him."
NOTES. Collins said Zack Wheeler, the club's top prospect, would be held to about 85 pitches in his final start for Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday night. Wheeler is on pace to make his major-league debut during the Mets' doubleheader against the Braves in Atlanta on June 18. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy selected Collins and Nationals manager Davey Johnson as his coaches for the All-Star Game, which will be played July 16 at Citi Field. Johnson managed the Mets to their most recent World Series championship in 1986. The AL coaches are also former Mets, White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. ... Matheny said he still wasn't ready to announce his starter for Sunday against the Marlins. Rookie Michael Wacha is in line to make that start, but fellow rookie Tyler Lyons, who will lose his rotation spot when Jake Westbrook comes off the disabled list Friday, is also a candidate. ... Third baseman David Freese, whose 20-game hitting streak ended Wednesday night, got Thursday off. Descalso started in his place.
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