NEW YORK (AP) - Angel Pagan homered with one out in the 10th inning and the New York Mets rallied from an early four-run deficit to beat the sputtering St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 Wednesday night.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer and new father Josh Thole had two RBI for the Mets, including a tying single off Jason Motte with two outs in the eighth.
Albert Pujols was not in the St. Louis 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 Kyle McClellan, who is 0-5 in eight starts since beating Houston on May 19.
Matt Holliday had three hits and two RBI for St. Louis. Locked in a tight race near the top of the NL Central, the Cardinals have dropped four of five since the All-Star break.
Pagan connected on the first pitch he saw 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.
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, and remained in the game at first base.
Backup catcher Gerald Laird put St. Louis ahead in the eighth with a savvy bunt single. Holliday led off with a single, tagged up on a fly to left and went to third on a groundout.
After an intentional walk, Laird noticed the New York infield playing deep and dropped a beautiful bunt down the third-base line on a 99 mph fastball from Bobby Parnell.
Third baseman Daniel Murphy had no play. Just before the pitch, he darted in to keep Holliday close at third, then backed up way behind the bag.
A throwing error by shortstop Daniel Descalso on a tough play allowed Pagan to reach safely leading off the bottom of the eighth. He scored from third when Thole lined Motte's second pitch to left.
The teams are back at it today at 12:10 p.m., with expected temperatures in the mid-90s accompanied by sweltering humidity.
Skip Schumaker opened the game with a double and scored on Holliday's sacrifice fly.
McClellan started a rally with a leadoff single in the third. Schumaker also singled and both runners advanced on Dickey's wild pitch.
Jon Jay drove in a run with a groundout and Holliday sliced an RBI double that tailed away from Beltran, who took a wayward route in deep right. Berkman added a single that made it 4-0.
The bottom of the lineup got New York back in the game.
McClellan retired his first six batters before Lucas Duda's dribbler went for an infield single. Thole followed with a long RBI double and Dickey faked a bunt before slashing a butcher-boy single through the left side to cut it to 4-2.
Dickey also singled to start the fifth, giving him five hits in his last seven at-bats after starting the season 1-for-25.
Two outs later, Beltran worked an eight-pitch at-bat against McClellan and sent a two-run shot soaring deep into the second deck in right field for his 15th homer.
Beltran, who can become a free agent after the season, is at the center of trade talk all around baseball. The switch-hitting slugger is perhaps the biggest prize available on the market as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches.
Notes: A fan ran into the outfield in the top of the sixth and eluded several security guards for a while before he was tackled - not far from Beltran. The fan was detained and led away through a gate in the right-field fence. ... Berkman replaced Pujols at first base and Jay started in Berkman's usual spot, right field. It was the first time Pujols didn't start since he came off the disabled list July 5. ... All-Star catcher Yadier Molina also was rested. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he might give Berkman a breather Thursday. ... Mets LF Jason Bay came out with a tight right hamstring. He was replaced by Willie Harris in the top of the fourth. ... New York activated Thole from the paternity leave list and optioned INF Ruben Tejada to Triple-A Buffalo. Thole and his wife Kathryn, welcomed their first child Tuesday night and named the boy Camden. ... Mets 3B David Wright (lower back) played his sixth rehab game for Class-A St. Lucie. He went 2-for-2 with two singles and two walks as the DH against Clearwater. Wright is expected to return to the lineup this weekend in Florida.