ST. LOUIS -- Finally, the New York Mets got a shutdown performance from a starter not named Matt Harvey.
Jonathon Niese worked into the eighth inning Thursday, while Daniel Murphy and David Wright supplied most of the offense in a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon, to avoid what would've been the team's first four-game sweep ever under the Gateway Arch.
Niese (3-4) outdueled Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright for just his second win since Opening Day. He pitched seven innings, scattering six hits and allowing two runs. The lefty recorded 14 groundouts, including eight straight in one stretch.
Murphy touched Wainwright (5-3) for three hits, including an RBI double to tie the game at 1-1 in the third and a double which started a two-run sixth, and added a fourth hit in the ninth. Wright scored Murphy twice with a tie-breaking single in the third and a double in the sixth.
The Mets (15-23) snapped a six-game losing streak and handed St. Louis just their third loss in 15 games. The Cardinals saw their National League Central lead over Cincinnati drop to two games, pending the outcome of the Reds' game Thursday night in Miami.
St. Louis led 1-0 in the bottom of the second after Pete Kozma blooped an RBI double in front of diving center fielder Rick Ankiel. It scored Yadier Molina, who singled and moved to second on David Freese's groundout.
That was it for the Cardinals' offense until the eighth, when Carlos Beltran greeted reliever Brandon Lyon with single that scored Matt Carpenter. But with Allen Craig representing the tying run at the plate, Lyon induced a double play started by Wright to end the inning.
Bobby Parnell worked the ninth for his fourth save for New York, which also got a sacrifice fly from Lucas Duda and an RBI single from John Buck.
Notes: When St. Louis reliever Seth Maness picked up the win Wednesday night, he became the first Cardinal pitcher since 1900 with three relief wins in his first five Major League appearances. ... Mets first baseman Ike Davis struggled again, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts to drop his average to .157 ... Entering Thursday's game at 26-13, St. Louis was off to its best start since the 1941 team opened 30-9.