Tagged: New York Mets

Santana’s complete game sends Cards packing


New York Mets’ starter Johan Santana pitched a complete game in a 9-1 shellacking of the St. Louis Cardinals today. Albert Pujols spoiled his shutout with a solo home run.
Cardinals’ ace Kyle Lohse got pounded, taking the loss, his record now 12-3.

Both Santana and Lohse got out of their respective first innings with the help of double plays.

Three air outs were the order of the Cards’ second; the Mets left two men on base for the second time. Of note was Santana had thrown 19 pitches while Lohse had already piled up 40.
A one-two-three inning for Santana in the third, fly out, ground out, strikeout, and no Cardinals’ hit.
Trouble for Lohse in the bottom of the third, Jose Reyes lacing a long drive to right field that Ryan Ludwick misjudged, the ball sailing over his head and to the wall, Reyes coming into second with a stand-up double. Endy Chavez created big problems with a drag bunt that forced first baseman Albert Pujols to range to his right to field. The play developed so quickly, there was no way Lohse could cover first base, and when Pujols raced over to tag Chavez, the Mets’ bunter slide just out of Pujols’ reaching tag attempt. Pujols was adamnant in arguing the call with the first base umpire, manager Tony La Russa joining in, but after an umpire’s conference, Chavez was ruled safe. They may have missed debating the point that Chavez ran outside the baserunners’ marked running lane on the foul territory side, that step out of bounds all it took to evade Pujols’ tag.

After David Wright flew out to shallow center, Carlos Delgado hit a longer fly to center, J. Reyes scoring on a tag up at third while center fielder Skip Schumaker alertly fired back in to second base, almost, but not quite doubling off Chavez. With the Mets up 1-0, Carlos Betran drove a single to right field, Ludwick firing to the plate, but short-hopping the throw which got away from Yadier Molina. Chavez was beat by the throw, but safe on the play.

Down 2-0, the bigger concern might’ve been the mounting pitch count of Lohse, up to 64 by the end of the inning. At that pace, Lohse might be expected to throw only five innings.
The top of the Cards’ order couldn’t dent Santana in the fourth; a ground out and two fly outs.
The quick Cardinal fourth put Lohse back to the mound with little recovery time. Lohse, however, had his first one-two-three inning, much needed at that point.
Troy Glaus led off the fifth with a laser single to center, only the second Cardinals’ base runner to that point. Three air outs, however, and the Cards came up empty, still down 2-0, and Santana having thrown a mere smattering more pitches, his total now at 49, making his average pitches per inning less than 10.
Getting to Santana might would be the task at hand for St. Louis, while Lohse, doing well, would have to attempt to keep the score 2-0 for as long as possible.
For two outs was as long as possible, as David Wright blasted a solo homer way up in the left center field seats, tacking one one for the Mets, making it 3-0.
The Cards went in order in the sixth, Santana’s count up on a scant 62 pitches while Lohse was up to 86.
The hopes that La Russa could get a couple more innings out of Lohse fading when Fernando Tatis clouted a two-run shot to left, the Mets extending their lead to 5-0. Lohse seemed frustrated on a swinging bunt by Damion Easley. The Cards’ ace was obviously winded, but La Russa left him in to face Ramon Castro, who jumped on the next offering, launching it into the left field seats to put the Mets further ahead at 7-0.
La Russa was pretty sure then that Lohse was spent, calling upon reliever Randy Flores, the only Cardinals’ pitcher who didn’t throw in last night’s marathon. Santana took a full count Flores pitch deep to right, standing and admiring his handiwork a couple steps out of the batters’ box as the ball fell short of a home run. With the crowd noise, right fielder Ludwick didn’t hear Ryan calling for a throw to first, and Santana barely made it there. Jose Reyes would make fans forget for a moment, lining a double into the left field corner, Santana advancing to third. A pop out later, Wright singled to left-center, Joe Mather throwing a rainbow, off-line to home, Molina having to leave the plate to go after the ball. With the throw sailing over cutoff man, Pujols’ head, Reyes attempted to scored, but a quick flip from Molina to Flores covering home got Reyes sliding in. The Mets stopped there, five runs scored in the inning, now up 8-0.
Pujols got one back in the seventh, destroying a Santana shutout with a solo blast to left center. Molina singled to right, but the Cards couldn’t manage to get a rally started.
The Mets touched up reliever Mitchell Boggs in the bottom of the frame, adding one run to extend to 9-1.
Jason Isringhausen worked the eighth, one-two-three.
Pujols scorched a single to left field to lead off the ninth, Joel Pineiro pinch running for him. Santana shut down the next three hitters, however, completing the game.
The Cardinals lost the three-game series in their last regular season visit to Shea Stadium. They now travel to Atlanta to start a four-game set tomorrow night.
 
photo by Alan Penner

Redbird Randoms … Lohse slated for rubber match, half-dozen hits for Schumaker

On-deck: The rubber match of the Cardinals’ three-game series with the New York Mets is on for today at 12:05 p.m. CDT.

Probables: STL-Kyle Lohse RHP (12-2, 3.35) vs. NYM-Johan Santana (8-7, 3.05)

Probables players: It is likely you will see all reserves, although there aren’t many, due to the lengthy game last night into this morning. Look to see a start for Brendan Ryan, Jason LaRue, and Joe Mather. There is the possibility La Russa will call for a minor leaguer once more, probably sending down Kelvin Jimenez since he threw two innings, but instead of a position player, more likely, another fresh will be called. Of course, there might be no move made at all.

Bird’s Perch: The Cards remain in third place, but pick up one game on the league-leading Cubs, who are now tied for first with the Brewers.

Another Shea fall: Another fan has fallen off an escalator at Shea Stadium, this time during the Cards/Mets game last night. The fan was a St. Louis Cardinals fan according to reports in the New York Daily News.

Jason Larson, a 26 year old from St. Louis, reportedly was trying to slide down the bannister of the escalator. Larson was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was listed in serious condition.

The fall was approximately two stories.

Whatcha done for me lately? There was a lot done lately, in the span of 14 innings starting last night and ending in the wee hours this morning. Here are some notables.

  • The game seen a total of 18 runs on 37 hits, no errors.
  • Sixteen pitchers threw, eight from each team.
  • Skip Schumaker went 6-for-7, scoring three of the Cards’ runs and seeing his batting average rise to .302 due to the bevy of hits.
  • Albert Pujols went 5-for-8 with three RBIs and the game-winning hit, a home run.
  • The Mets tallied four home runs in their loss, all of them solo shots.
  • Mets’ pitchers walked five and struck out 12.
  • Cards’ pitchers walked nine and struck out nine.
  • Mets’ pitchers threw a combined 256 pitches.
  • Cards’ pitchers threw a combined 261 pitches.
  • The Mets used all their relief pitchers.
  • The Cards had only one pitcher remaining in the bullpen: Randy Flores.
 
photo by Iscan

Three-oh-one right on time for Pujols in fourteenth

Albert Pujols ended his home run drought tonight, his two-run blast in the fourteenth inning his first since July 4. The two-run homer also helped end the Cardinals’ five-game skid, the early morning win evening the three-game series with the New York Mets at one game apiece.
The Cardinals went through lows, highs, but mostly gut-wrentching moments in tonight’s extra inning 10-8 win, using all but one member of the bullpen.
The Cards seemed ready for the inevitable late inning letdown, but when reliever Kyle McClellan struck out the side in the eighth, the Cards seemed to get a mental boost, a momentum with which to end the losing streak, to somehow hold off the Mets where they had failed in the late innings during their nightmare series versus the Brewers.
The Cardinals came out with guns blazing in Shea Stadium tonight, scoring four runs in the first inning, off of Mets’ starter Brandon Knight, making his first major league start. Knight had been in the big leagues years before, but just got called up from Double-A Akron to pitch tonight.
Joel Pineiro had a rough start, himself, giving up two in the bottom half of the frame. Pineiro would only make it through four innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits, the Cards down 5-4.
Jason Isringhausen took over, walking the leadoff hitter but getting through the inning without giving up a run.
The Mets would get five full innings out of their starter, the Cards picking on his relief, Carlos Muniz, in the sixth, rallying for four runs.
With one out, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick, and Albert Pujols all singled in a row, Schumaker scoring on the latter. The Mets would change pitchers, bringing in Pedro Feliciano.
Glaus then hit an infield single, third baseman David Wright unable to do anything with the ball, Ludwick scoring the go-ahead run. Yadier Molina then singled home Pujols, making it 7-5.
Aaron Miles drove home Glaus with a double, pushing the Cards up 8-5.
In a surprising move, Cards’ manager Tony La Russa sent Isringhausen to the plate with runners on second and third with two outs. Considering the Cardinals have an extra arm on the roster, and that tacking on runs has been an issue, the move made little sense based on only that information. Izzy struck out as he didn’t know what the bat was for.
To increase the wonderment over the Izzy plate appearance, La Russa then removed him, calling in Ron Villone.
Villone gave up a two-out walk to Wright, then a gofer ball to Carlos Delgado, bringing the Mets within one at 8-7. When Villone walked Carlos Beltran, La Russa brought in Russ Springer, who got a ground out to end the inning.
The Mets countered with reliever Joe Smith, who gave up a two-out walk to Ludwick, then got Pujols to fly out.
Springer held the Mets in the seventh.
When the Cards produced nothing in the eighth, La Russa called upon reliever Kyle McClellan.
Things got dicey then, Endy Chavez singling to lead off. When McClellan threw one in the dirt, Chavez scampered to second, Moline having no shot at him. Chavez, now in scoring position, represented the tying run.
McClellan then struck out David Wright swinging for the first out.
Making things more nerve-racking, Delgado came to the plate, having hit two home runs in the game so far. McClellan struck him out too, on a nasty curve ball.
In a huge match-up, McClellan then struck out Carlos Beltran, retiring the side on strikeouts of the most dangerous Mets’ hitters in the lineup.
After Cesar Izturis singled to lead off the ninth, the Cards went to small ball, Schumaker sacrificing him over to second with a bunt. Ludwick walked, putting runners on first and second for Pujols with out. Pujols, however, tried to pull too much, and ended up reaching a low and outside ball, slow-batting a tailor-made double play ball to end the inning.
La Russa went with closer Ryan Franklin, hoping for a one-two-three inning. Franklin worked a 2-2 count to Fernando Tatis, who drove a ball over the center field wall, Rick Ankiel just missing the catch, the game tied at 8-8. Franklin got the next three in order, the game heading into extra innings.
After the Cards went down in order in the tenth, Jose Reyes led off with a single. When Endy Chavez sac-bunted, however, Franklin pounced, throwing out Reyes at second. Wright then singled to left, just out of reach of a diving Izturis at short, the Mets now with runners at first and second with Carlos Delgado coming up.
Franklin then helped himself with an alert snag on a comebacker, wheeling and firing to Izturis at second base, his throw to Pujols at first base in plenty of time to complete an inning-ending double play.
The Cards went one-two-three in the eleventh, Brendan Ryan pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot for Franklin.
Kelvin Jimenez would come on in relief next. After one out, Jimenez gave up two walks in a row, putting Tatis in scoring position, representing the potential game-winner. Argenis Reyes hit a grounder that Pujols had to range far to his right to field, throwing to Jimenez covering first for two outs. Jimenez than handled a comebacker off the bat of pinch-hitter Ramon Castro, racing toward first base to cut the distance and making a careful toss to Pujols, ensuring the third out.
The twelfth found Schumaker leading off with a single to left. Ludwick struck out swinging. Pujols singled to left-center on a much better looking swing then recent at bats, advancing Schumaker to second. Ankiel hit a slow-roller to second baseman Reyes, who had no other play than a shovel to first, Schumaker advancing to third, Pujols to second. With two outs, Glaus hit a pop fly out to center, the Cards leaving two men on.
La Russa stuck with Jimenez to start the bottom of the twelfth. Jose Reyes hit a sinking liner to left field, Schumaker sprinting in, risking a dive, but making the catch. Chavez then hit a slow hopper that Izturis hurried over to first, Chavez beating the throw but getting called out. Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel argued to no avail. With two outs, Jimenez walked Wright, asking for big trouble in the next hitter, Delgado, who could end the game with one swing.
Delgado fought off several two-strike pitches, eventually drawing a walk, Wright advancing to second base. Beltran also fought off several two-strike pitches, taking a 2-2 pitch that looked to be a strike. A ball was called, however, and he walked on the next pitch, loading the bases for Tatis.
Jimenez had to field a comebacker off a broken bat, the barrel twirling dangerously near him as he maintained his composure and fielding the ball, throwing out Tatis to get out of the jam, forcing another inning.
Molina led off the thirteenth, striking out on a check swing that went too far. Miles then grounded out. Braden Looper pinch hit for Jimenez, La Russa down to only Jason LaRue, the backup catcher, on the bench. Looper struck out swinging.
La Russa brought in Brad Thompson, only Randy Flores remaining in the bullpen. (The Mets’ last reliever, Aaron Heilman, who had just finished off Looper, had pitched two innings.)
Thompson threw a couple ground balls and a fly ball to cruise through the bottom half of the thirteenth.
In the fourteenth, Schumaker got a one-out single, his sixth hit on the night. Ludwick struck out looking, frozen on a curve ball. Pujols then came through, launching one into the seats in left-center, the two run shot putting the Cards up 10-8. The home run was Pujols’ first home run since he’d hit his milestone 300th back on July 4. As long as it took, three-oh-one was right on time. Ankiel kept things going with a single. Glaus then drove a single into center field, the Cards taking advantage of someone else’s tired bullpen for a change.
Thompson would face the top of the Mets lineup, Jose Reyes leading off with a pop fly into shallow left field, Izturis dashing back and toward the foul line to make the catch. Chavez popped out in foul territory behind home plate, Moline hustling to make the catch. Wright then grounded out to Glaus to end the game.
Brad Thompson secured the win, now 3-2.
 
photo by Alan Penner

Redbird Randoms … PIneiro, Wainwright, Carpenter

On-deck: The Cards play the second game of their current road trip in New York tonight versus the New York Mets. Game time is 6:10 p.m. CDT.
Probables: STL-Joel Pineiro RHP (3-4, 4.52) vs. NYM-Bradnon Knight RHP (0-0, -.–)
Bird’s Perch: The Cardinals continue to hold onto third place in the NL Central. Everyone in the division lost except the Astros, who beat the Breweres last night. The Cards remain four games behind the division leading Cubs, and three games behind the second place Brewers.
Chris Carpenter rehab: The former Cardinals’ ace pitched five full innings with the Memphis Redbirds yesterday. A decision on whether he will rejoin the parent club right away or go for another minor league rehab start should be forthcoming.
Adam Wainwright rehab: The more recent Cardinals’ ace is on track for an early August return to action. He is slated to throw a bullpen session today in New York at Shea Stadium, in his first rehab trial at throwing breaking balls to see if his injured finger has sufficiently healed.
Whatcha done for me lately? These Cardinals lead the team in walks.
  1. Albert Pujols — 65
  2. Troy Glaus — 57
  3. Ryan Ludwick — 38
  4. Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan — 34
  5. Rick Ankiel — 33

photo by Alan Penner

Cards drop first game of road trip, sixth straight


2574379550_282be3055f_m-josereyes-photo by penner42.jpgLike La Russa said, it ain’t the bullpen. Or, even if he didn’t say that, it wasn’t the bullpen tonight.

Lack of offense; starter not going deep enough into the game. Bullpen hanging on by a thread.

The Cardinals suffered their sixth loss in a row tonight at the hands of starter Mike Pelfrey, who came right at the Redbirds, allowing them only one run in his seven full innings of work, striking out five. Pelfrey threw 103 pitches in his duration on the mound. 

Tony La Russa had a choice between Mitchell Boggs and Brad Thompson to start against the New York Mets in the first game of a three-game series in New York. Shy a starter and with an overworked bullpen, it was six of one, half a dozen of the other, and Boggs got the nod.

It’s possible the hope was to get more than five innings out of whomever the starter would be, with anything over five a bonus. Boggs didn’t make it five innings, lasting only until he got one out in the fifth before La Russa pulled him, handing the ball over to Randy Flores.

The Mets were first on the board, scoring a run in the third, two in the fourth, and rallying for three runs in the fifth, leading 6-0.

The Cards didn’t get on the board until the sixth, Ryan Ludwick scoring on a Troy Glaus single up the middle.

Boggs gave up six runs on eight hits, walking four, but if he failed at anything, it was that he burned up far too many pitches, reaching 95 in a little more than half a game. Whether it was a lack of control or trying to pitch in too precise a manner, neither way will work, and things didn’t work out for Boggs. Much easier said than done, Boggs would’ve been better off pitching to contract, especially considering how good a defense the Cardinals possess. In this way, Boggs would’ve lasted longer, even if he gave up just as many runs.

Flores cleaned up the rest of the fifth and then threw a scoreless sixth, a good piece of middle relief, which encouraging.

Thompson took over from there, starting the seventh, striking out a couple, but getting touched up for the longball, a solo homer by Argenis Reyes. Thompson continued pitching well in the eighth, a scoreless frame this time.

Meanwhile, the score is 7-1 with an inning of outs left to hit with.

The never-say-die attitude of the Cardinals kicked in, loading the bases on an Adam Kennedy single, a Brendan Ryan walk, and a Joe Mather single. The Mets brought in reliever Pedro Feliciano; Schumaker popped out. The Mets then went with reliever Aaron Heilman to face Ryan Ludwick, who took him a full count, fouled off a bevy of pitches, then flew out to deep right, Kennedy tagging up and scoring to cut the lead to 7-2.

Albert Pujols got a shot at continuing the rally. He had struck out three times in the game. Pujols grounded out to third baseman David Wright, however, and the Cardinals suffered their fifth loss in a row.

Boggs took the loss, now 3-2. Mike Pelfrey took the win for the Mets, his record now 9-6.

The Mets used four relievers, but none of them for more than three outs, and manager Jerry Manuel avoided using his best closer, Billy Wagner.

photo by Alan Penner

Redbird Randoms … Boggs to start 7-game road trip

On deck: The Cards are in New York for what will probably be their last games ever in Shea Stadium as the Mets will be moving to a new facility next season. The Cards will be in New York to start a seven-game road trip; three games with the Mets and four in Atlanta. The road trip will take the Cards through the July 31 trade deadline.

Game time will be 6:10 p.m. CDT.


434656262_ada78af2cc_m-metssharpieball-photo by Iscan.jpgProbables:
STL-Mitchell Boggs RHP (3-1, 6.59) vs. NYM-Mike Pelfrey RHP (8-6, 3.81)

Boggs has been a welcome fresh arm for a troubled starting Cards’ rotation, winning three in a row before the Mets roughed him up pretty good in his last outing before being sent back to Class AAA Memphis. The 10 out of 11 earned runs the Mets pounded Boggs for accounts for most of high lofty ERA.

Pelfrey has given up the longball lately, according to the St. Louis Cardinals Official Web Site, but his prior record suggests that was an unusual occurrence.

Birds’ Perch: The Redbirds are roosting in third place these days, not yet close to any danger of slipping into fourth in the NL Central, but slipping into a slightly uncomfortable zone in relationship to the second place Breweres and first place Cubs, three and four games behind, respecively.

Streaky worries: The Cards current lock on third is due to a several-game spread between them and the teams above and below. But the first place Cubs have won their last two in a row, the second place Brewers are on an eight-game tear, and chasing, the Reds have won their last two while the Pirates have a four-game winning streak alive. About the only team not on the positive streak is the last place Astros, who, like the Cards, have lost their last four. Yikes!

Whatcha done for me lately? These are the Cardinals with the most in the last seven games.

ABs: Skip Schumaker — 28

Runs: Albert Pujols — 6

Hits: Skip Schumaker — 9

Doubles: Troy Glaus — 4

Home Runs: Ryan Ludwick — 2

RBIs: Rick Ankiel — 7

Total bases: Troy Glaus — 14

Walks: Skip Schumaker, Troy Glaus — 4

Strikeouts: Ryan Ludwick — 11

Stolen bases: Cesar Izturis — 2

On-base percentage: Albert Pujols — .429

Slugging percentage: Aaron Miles — .579

Batting average: Aaron Miles — .368

photo by Iscan

Mets roll over Cards and out of St. Louis with series split

2574385816_62e2c6924d_m-endy chavez-photo by penner42.jpg

The rookie pitcher, Mitchell Boggs, no longer has the pressure of carrying a perfect record. Lately, the Cardinals’ starters have had their turns (except for Lohse) at having “one of those games.” Tonight was Boggs’ turn.

The Mets got to Boggs early, scoring three in the first inning, then another six runs in the third. The game was getting out of hand at 5-0, but really got away from Boggs and the Cards when Jose Reyes tripled over the head of Rick Ankiel. Manager Tony La Russa made a trip to the mound, but already, the strategy was obvious: Boggs would have to go as far as he could with no relief, as there was no need to burn up the bullpen on a game so far out of reach.

Such a strategy forced the young pitcher to gut it out, to take one for the team. To the new baseball fan, leaving the rookie out on the hill like that seems unfair, cruel, even, but one must understand that the team wouldn’t want to use up a lot of relievers, only to become severely limited for the weekend series versus the Chicago Cubs.

At the end of the third inning, the Mets held their 9-0 lead. And into the fourth went Boggs, getting strikeout and a couple ground outs for a one-two-three inning, probably wondering why it couldn’t have been that easy in the previous innings. Continuing his odyssey, he struggled through the fifth, then suffered a bit more in the sixth when Carlos Delgado blasted a two-run shot out in field, making it 11-0.

The Cardinals would ruin the shutout in the sixth, finally scoring off of Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey, Adam Kennedy scoring on a Chris Duncan ground out.

Boggs’ turn at a terrible night ended when reliever Ron Villone took over to start the seventh.

Scott Schoeneweis then took over for Pelfrey to start the eighth. The Cards left the bases loaded.

Jason Isringhausen took a turn on the mound, not having pitched since last Sunday. Pitching to contact, Isringhausen was able to set down the Mets in order, the bullpen now able to have full availability if the Cardinals couldn’t win.

Shoeneweis shut down the Cardinals in the ninth, and the Mets secured a series split, 2-2, with the 11-1 victory. Mike Pelfrey improved to 6-6 with the win while Boggs took a hard first loss, his perfect record tarnished to 3-1.

Boggs stated afterward that any time you go out on the field and put your teammates in the hole the way he did, you’re going to get beat.

When asked about having to remain on the hill for the six innings he pitched, Boggs said: “It was good for me to stay out there, take my lumps, and get better.”

photo by Alan Penner

Redbird Ramblings — 7-3-08 — Additon, Jay, Clement, Boggs, Pelfrey, Beltran

2574380724_fb7369ef05_m-carlos delgado-photo by penner42.jpg

Probables: The Cardinals’ will throw rookie Mitchell Boggs RHP (3-0, 4.37) against the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey RHP (5-6, 4.47) in the last of a four-game set at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

50th? The Cards are going for their 50th win of the season tonight.

300th? Albert Pujols has struggled for hits, although he has hit the ball well in many ABs. Whatever his batting status, the three-hole hitter hasn’t reached the milestone mark of 300 home runs. Some believe he is pushing, widening his strike zone, not a good thing. Some believe he is simply in a slight lull.

Whatcha done for me lately? He has registered 22 total bases in the last week, tops on the Cards. Who is he? (answer below)

The Boggs Perfection: It’s only 3-0, but it is a perfect record, so far. Boggs has settled into the starting rotation for manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, but regardless of how well he has done so far, he will have to continue to add to a growing number of good innings and outings. If Boggs wants to get his work in tonight, he’ll have to get through the Mets leadoff-through clean-up portion of the order without getting scarred. Keeping the ball down and proving is off-speed is the only way he’ll stay in this game.

Beltran has cooled: In his last 26 ABs, Carlos Beltran is hitting a lowly .154 with one dinger and one double. The Mets have scored their runs versus the Cardinals in the first three games of their four-game set, but Mets fans have to be wondering if they might’ve turned at least one of the scores around in their two losses. When Beltran is hitting snuff-up, the first half of the Mets lineup is as tough as any in baseball.

Miles to play before I sleep: Aaron Miles has now reached a 14-game hitting streak. More importantly for the Cards, he has provided solid defense at second base and a lot of productive ABs. It might be a good idea to let him ride out this stretch of good ball-playing. Not sure? Ask yourself: If Albert Pujols or Rick Ankiel were on a hitting streak, would you platoon them? It’s a tough argument that Miles isn’t ordinarilly a regular, either, because that is how a player becomes a regular.

Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak may need to make a hard choice on what to do with the rehabbing right-hander, Matt Clement, now working the bullpen in Triple-A Memphis.

Cards’ affiliate pitcher of the month, June: Nick Additon. June’s record, 2-0, 1.53 ERA, 27 Ks, OBA .192. (Quad Cities River Bandits)

Cards’ affiliate player of the month, June: Jon Jay. BA .385. (Springfield Cardinals)

Whatcha done for me lately? He has registered 22 total bases in the last week, tops on the Cards. He plays third base, #8, Troy Glaus.

photo by Alan Penner

Glaus spoils Mets comeback with walk-off homer

2504239178_a705c72453_m-glaus-photo by Barbara Moore.jpg

Troy Glaus electrified the Busch Stadium crowd last night with some ninth inning heroics, a two-out walk-off home run to give the St. Louis Cardinals an 8-7 victory over the New York Mets.

Glaus had homered earlier in the game, but he wasn’t the only Card playing longball. Rick Ankiel went deep in the fifth and Chris Duncan a two-run shot in the eighth. The Duncan homer tied the game, setting up the opportunity for Glaus to win it in the Cards’ last at-bats.

The late-game homers, however, were necessary after the Mets had fought their way back from an early four-run deficit, tying the game in the fourth inning. Joel Pineiro didn’t exactly cruise through the Mets’ lineup, and by the time he’d pitched five innings, he’d given up 11 hits. The Mets’ four runs to that point were all earned.

After the Cards edged ahead a run in the fifth on Ankiels solo homer, Tony La Russa brought on Kyle McClellan in relief to start the sixth. Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel also changed hurlers, bringing in Joe Smith, closing the book on Pedro Martinez, who, after getting thwacked in the first inning, settled more and more as he went through his five innings or work. Martinez allowed 7 hits, but all five Cardinals runs were earned.

The seventh inning found the Mets rallying, showing the kind of offense they displayed the night before, not hitting for as many extra bases as one might imagine, but making a lot of contact. La Russa used three relievers in an effort to quell the Mets’ surge.

McCllellan started off what would be the most disasterous inning for the Redbirds by walking David Wright, the potential tying run. McClellan did manage to get Cardinal-killer Carlos Beltran to pop out, but got the hook at that point, La Russa bringing on the left-hander, Mark Mulder, to face Ryan Church.

Mulder pitched Church well, but fell victim to a flare hit to left field. Compounding the problem of Mets’ base runners while holding a scant one-run lead, Mulder threw a wild pitch, allowing both Wright and Church to advance. Carlos Delgado made Mulder and the Cards pay then, driving a line shot back up through the box, scoring that tying run in Wright, Church moving over to third base.

The Mets put forth more fundamental run-scoring strategy, Damion Easley hitting a sacrifice fly to left field, Schumaker too deep and with no forward movement to have a chance at throwing out Church at home. The sac-play nudged up the Mets’ lead to one at 6-5. When Mulder hit the next batter, Brian Schneider, La Russa had little choice but to replace him, calling upon Russ Springer, who allowed a bloop hit from pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis. Delgado scored on the play, putting the Mets up 7-5 but.

Down two runs, the innings became more desperate for the Cardinals. Manuel called upon Aaron Heilman to make sure the Cardinals could not inch their way back. Neither Albert Pujols, Ankiel, and Glaus could reach against Heilman.

La Russa used more of the Cardinal bullpen, relieving Springer with Chris Perez. The Mets threatened when Wright ripped a one-out triple, but Perez fought out of the jam, striking out Beltran and getting Church to ground out.

Trailing 7-5, it was the Cardinals turn to take advantage of a mistake. After Heilman hit Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan pinch-hit for Jason LaRue. Manuel countered with Pedro Feliciano. The strategy failed, however, when Duncan took Feliciano deep to right field, the two-run shot tying up the game at 7-apiece.

Closer Ryan Franklin turned away any chance for a Mets rally, stopping Delgado, Easley, and Schneider.

Carlos Muniz was charged with stopping the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth, staring off by getting Pujols to foul out. Ankiel then flew out to center.

Down to the last out and the possibility of extra innings, Glaus delivered the game-winner, a walk-off home run to give the Cardinals an 8-7 win.

The thrilling win gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead in the four-game series with the Mets and their 49th victory of the season.

photo by Barbara Moore