NEW YORK (AP) — Paul DeJong homered against the New York Mets for the fourth straight game and Adam Wainwright hit an RBI double while winning his fourth consecutive start, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-3 victory Monday night.
With runners at the corners in the bottom of the ninth inning, slugger Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a game-ending double play on a 3-0 pitch from Brett Cecil.
Tommy Pham capped a six-run sixth with a three-run homer on Hansel Robles’ second pitch since returning from the minors. Four relievers combined on 3 1/3 spotless innings for St. Louis, which took the opener of a four-game series between losing teams that expected much better this season.
Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda homered off Wainwright (11-5), who beat scuffling starter Zack Wheeler (3-7) for the second time in 10 days.
Wainwright allowed two earned runs and was removed in the sixth. Moments earlier, Jose Reyes dashed all the way around to score on his own double when rookie right fielder Magneuris Sierra made two errors on the play — booting the ball in the alley before overthrowing third base.
Reyes slid headfirst across the plate and remained on his belly for a few seconds, catching his breath. But the Mets managed only two more hits, and Cecil got three outs for his first save since June 19, 2015, with Toronto.
The left-hander had just squandered a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
Conforto snapped a scoreless tie with a leadoff homer in the fifth, but Wheeler quickly ran out of gas in losing his fifth straight decision. The right-hander escaped the fifth unscathed after issuing three two-out walks in a row, but couldn’t do the same in the sixth.
Slow-footed Yadier Molina reached on a rare infield single with a slow roller toward shortstop. DeJong then connected on a full-count fastball from Wheeler to put the Cardinals ahead.
The rookie shortstop was 9 for 12 with seven extra-base hits and a homer in each game as the Cardinals took two of three from the Mets in St. Louis from July 7-9. He went 2 for 2 with a homer and a double off Wheeler in the middle game of the series.
Kolten Wong singled and, one out later, Wainwright doubled to right-center to make it 3-1, giving him 10 RBIs for the second straight season. Matt Carpenter walked against Josh Edgin before Pham homered into the second deck in left-center off Robles, demoted to Triple-A on May 23 after serving up a string of home runs.
New York (41-49) has dropped seven of 10.
Cardinals: OF Randal Grichuk (lower back strain) could return Thursday, the first day he’s eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list. … LHP Zach Duke is making a speedy recovery from Tommy John surgery last October and could be ready to rejoin the Cardinals’ bullpen fairly soon, manager Mike Matheny indicated. Duke is rehabbing at Triple-A Memphis.
Mets: Cespedes returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday with a sore left hip. … 2B Neil Walker (left hamstring) did some running and was set to take grounders on the field. Mets manager Terry Collins said he hopes Walker can begin playing rehab games by this weekend. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. … LHP Josh Smoker (strained shoulder) was scheduled to make another rehab appearance for Double-A Binghamton. … RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn lat muscle) and RHP Matt Harvey (shoulder) began their throwing programs by playing catch together at Citi Field, their first steps toward returning to the mound.
Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (6-3, 4.10 ERA) starts the second game of the series Tuesday night against RHP Rafael Montero (1-5, 5.77). Wacha is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his last three outings and hasn’t lost since May 30 against the Dodgers. It will be his first start since July 6.
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