Pagan's 10th-inning blast rallies Mets past Cardinals

Thursday, July 21, 2011
Mets outfielder Angel Pagan reacts after hitting a walk-off home run during the 10th inning Wednesday at Citi Field in New York. (FRANK FRANKLIN III ~ Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- This is not what Kyle McClellan and the St. Louis Cardinals had in mind coming out of the All-Star break.

Angel Pagan homered with one out in the 10th inning to give the New York Mets a 6-5 win over the sputtering Cardinals, who squandered a four-run lead Wednesday night.

St. Louis, locked in a tight race near the top of the NL Central, has dropped four of five since the break.

"You've got to finish out games and we haven't been able to do that very well," said Matt Holliday, who had three hits and two RBIs. "We've got two months left, 2 1/2 months left. So yeah, you've got to start winning games. I mean, you're not going to win the division and accomplish your goals losing. But at the same time, you don't panic and start doubting yourself."

Albert Pujols was out of the starting lineup, rested against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with a scorching day game on deck today. But the Cardinals built a 4-0 lead for McClellan, who is 0-5 with a 5.48 ERA over his last eight starts.

Cardinals shortstop Daniel Descalso jumps over Mets baserunner Justin Turner after forcing out Turner and throwing to first base for a double play during the ninth inning Wednesday in New York. (FRANK FRANKLIN III ~ Associated Press)

Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer and new father Josh Thole had two RBIs for the Mets (49-48), including a tying single off Jason Motte with two outs in the eighth.

"That was a strange game in some ways," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "At the end of the game, we did a lot of chasing, which is not our style."

The teams are back at it today at 11:10 a.m., with expected temperatures in the mid-90s accompanied by sweltering humidity.

Pagan connected on the first pitch from Fernando Salas (5-4), hitting a drive off the facing of the second deck in right field for his first career game-ending homer.

Right after he swung, Pagan pumped his fist and watched the ball fly as he tossed his bat aside. When he returned to home plate, he was mobbed by teammates in a joyous celebration.

Mets outfielder Angel Pagan reacts while running to home plate after hitting a walk-off home run during the 10th inning Wednesday at Citi Field in New York. (FRANK FRANKLIN III ~ Associated Press)

"Fastball right down Broadway," Pagan said.

Jason Isringhausen (2-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win -- one night after notching his 294th career save and first this season. Facing his former team, the veteran right-hander struck out Pujols, Holliday and Lance Berkman in succession.

Pujols entered as a pinch-hitter with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh. He fouled out against reliever Pedro Beato, keeping the score tied at 4-4.

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