NEW YORK (AP) — Jose Reyes made a huge impact in the field in his return from a hamstring injury, turning a difficult double play with the bases loaded in the eighth inning after making a diving stop that saved a run, and the New York Mets welcomed back their two All-Stars with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.Carlos Beltran also was back in the Mets’ lineup after missing three games with a high fever. He hit two doubles, singled, walked twice and scored a run for New York, all while still very congested.
Angel Pagan and Daniel Murphy hit two-run doubles, and Dillon Gee (9-3) pitched seven sharp innings in the Mets’ second win in five games.
Lance Berkman hit a mammoth homer and starter Kyle Lohse (8-7) had an RBI single for St. Louis, which opened a stretch of 20 consecutive games with its third loss in four games after the All-Star break.
The Mets went 6-6 without Reyes, the majors’ leading hitter, but wilted in the humidity after the break, losing three of four to start a stretch that general manager Sandy Alderson said would determine how the club will proceed as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
But Reyes gave a spark to the crowd from the moment he stepped on the field and to the team on it during the game. He had two hits and scored a run in five at-bats. It was his 44th multihit game of the season.
His biggest contribution, though, came in the field. With one out and runners on first and second Jon Jay hit a sharp grounder between shortstop and third base. Reyes made a diving stop to hold the runner at third, loading the bases for Albert Pujols.
Pujols fouled off two 100 mph pitches from Bobby Parnell then hit a grounder that Reyes fielded right at second base. He stepped on the bag and made a strong throw to nail Pujols at first, falling down on the follow through.
Jason Isringhausen converted the Mets’ first save opportunity since trading Francisco Rodriguez — who had 23 of New York’s 24 saves this season — on the night of the All-Star game. Pitching a perfect ninth, it was Isringhausen’s first save since he earned one 2008 for St. Louis.
It was Isringhausen’s second save for the Mets. The other was the first of his career, in 1999.
Manager Terry Collins said Pagan was unhappy in the leadoff spot while Reyes was out. He looked more comfortable batting fifth, lining a drive over right fielder Berkman’s head for two runs in the fifth. He got such a good jump out of the box that he nearly stopped between first and second to give Beltran a chance to round second base.
Pagan’s double was the Mets’ first hit with men in scoring position since Sunday. They were 0 for 5 Monday in a 4-1 loss to Florida.
Murphy lined out to shortstop Ryan Theriot with the bases loaded ahead of Pagan. But Murphy came through in the sixth, greeting reliever Raul Valdes with a two-out, two-run double to left-centre. Cursing into his helmet after failing in the fifth, Murphy pumped his arm over his head while standing on second base in the sixth.
Justin Turner singled and Beltran walked ahead of Murhpy’s hit. Beltran scored from first on the sharply hit ball for a 4-1 lead.
Gee gave up his first hit when David Freese’s high chopper back to the mound deflected off his glove and fell between shortstop and second base with one out in the fifth. An out later, Lohse, batting eighth, slapped a grounder over second base for his first RBI of the season.
Gee had lost his last two starts, giving up nine earned runs. His changeup baffled the Cardinals, though, and he gave up three hits and two runs.
Berkman hit a drive way over the bullpens in right-centre and onto the pedestrian Shea Bridge, eliciting “wows” from the crowd of 35,448. Beltran, in right field, didn’t even move when Berkman crushed the ball.
Lohse allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He gave up 11 earned runs in his previous two starts.
NOTES: Mets C Josh Thole went on the paternity list to be with his wife, and Mike Nickeas was going to be called up from Triple-A Buffalo, but he could not make it to the ballpark in time for Tuesday’s game leaving the Mets with one catcher. … Cardinals SS Theriot was suspended two games for making contact with an umpire Sunday. He appealed, allowing him to play Tuesday. … Struggling Cardinals OF Colby Rasmus was not in the lineup Tuesday, but manager Tony La Russa said he’s not benching Rasmus. “If he gets it going, he can be a game-winner himself.”
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