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Cards recover in 13 innings after losing six-run lead to Mets
NEW YORK -- Albert Pujols drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 13th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals survived a frantic comeback to beat the New York Mets 8-7 on Wednesday night.
Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBIs, and Jaime Garcia also drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who scored six times off Mets ace Johan Santana in the first inning only to watch their bullpen let the lead slip away.
The Mets scored four times in the eighth to tie the game, and that's where it stood when Pedro Feliciano (2-6) plunked Skip Schumaker and walked Felipe Lopez with one out in the 13th. Jon Jay hit into a fielder's choice, putting runners on the corners, and manager Jerry Manuel elected to pitch to Pujols rather than walk the bases loaded.
His grounder through the left side brought in Schumaker with the go-ahead run.
Mike MacDougal (1-0) worked the 12th inning to earn the win, with Ryan Franklin getting through the 13th for his 19th save.
The game lasted 4 hours, 32 minutes, which was still pretty snappy compared to the last time Santana and Garcia hooked up, on April 17 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The two pitchers dueled over seven scoreless innings, and both were long gone by the time New York finally won 2-1 in 20 innings. That game lasted 6 hours, 53 minutes.
The Cardinals gave themselves a big cushion in the first against Santana, who needed 38 pitches just to survive the frame. The two-time Cy Young winner allowed a career-high 13 hits, but kept the damage to a minimum the rest of the way and gave New York a chance.
Garcia also had problems in the first inning, allowing a two-run double to Mike Hessman. The Cardinals rookie cruised after that, until Carlos Beltran hit his first homer of the season in the sixth to get the Mets within 7-3.
The rest of their rally came after Garcia left the game.
Mitchell Boggs set down the order in the seventh, then allowed a leadoff single to Luis Castillo and a two-run homer to Angel Pagan in the eighth. Dennys Reyes walked Josh Thole to load the bases later in the inning, and Ike Davis hit a pinch-hit two-run single to right field with two outs that tied the game.
Kyle McClellan loaded the bases again before getting Castillo to ground out.
The biggest bright spot the first half of the game for New York was Hessman, who came within a couple feet of hitting a grand slam in the first. His two-run double off the wall in left was still his first hit since Sept. 25, 2008, when he was with Detroit.
The fans cheered Hessman the rest of the game, and for good reason. The 32-year-old journeyman is the real-life version of Crash Davis from the movie "Bull Durham." He's spent most of his career bouncing around the minors leagues, playing 1,621 games and hitting 329 homers in out-of-the-way places like Greenville and Toledo.
He certainly didn't figure to be the star under the lights at Citi Field, especially with Santana on the mound. He had been 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in five starts this month for New York, and had not allowed a run in 18 straight innings at Citi Field.
* The Cardinals purchased the contract of MacDougal from Memphis and optioned pitcher Fernando Salas to their Class AAA Memphis club before the game.
* Holliday extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games.
* Beltran's homer was his first since Sept. 26.