Mets show Cards who's boss

Mets show Cards who's boss

NEW YORK -- The Cardinals came into New York playing second fiddle to the Mets in the National League standings, but this series presented an opportunity for the Redbirds to send a message to the National League's best.

However, after their come-from-behind victory on Tuesday, the Mets proved which team sat atop of the charts, as they outslugged the Cardinals, 10-8, on Wednesday in front of 49,329 at Shea Stadium.

The night had a sing-song feel to it, literally and figuratively. Before the game, the Shea faithful were treated to a Polka band named "Still Kicking" from the tri-state area playing in celebration of Polish culture.

The festivities continued with "1964," a Beatles tribute band, which rocked before and during the game from the seating area along the right-field line. The tribute honored the Beatles, a band that still holds the record for most No. 1 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 Charts with 20, and who made the first stop of their 1965 North American tour at Shea in front of 56,000 adoring fans.

At the beginning of the game, the Mets created their own hits, similar to the home run showcase in Tuesday's 8-7 affair in which Carlos Delgado hit a solo homer and a grand slam and Carlos Beltran smacked a walk-off two-run jack in the ninth.

In the first inning, Jose Reyes led off the game with a liner up the middle. After Paul Lo Duca popped out, Beltran walked. Delgado, showing signs in the past few games that he's clearly out of his slump with 12 RBIs in his last six games, doubled to right to score Reyes. After Cardinals starter Mark Mulder intentionally walked David Wright, Chris Woodward made some music of his own with a bases-clearing double down the left-field line to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

"It was nice to get that hit early," said Woodward, who had only one RBI in his last 40 at-bats prior to Wednesday's game. "It was kind of a slap in the face [with the intentional walk], and I was glad I was able to come through."

Lastings Milledge hit a fly ball to right, sending Woodward to third. However, after Endy Chavez drew a walk, Steve Trachsel flied out to end the inning.

After the Cardinals put up two runs in the third, the Mets kept the hits coming in their half of the inning. Woodward, who went 2-for-5, singled through the hole at short, followed by a duplicate hit by Chavez. Woodward and Chavez moved up a base on Trachsel's sacrifice bunt and then scored when Reyes, batting from the right side, hit his 15th homer of the season, a deep shot to left that cleared the bleachers and landed in the picnic area. Mulder induced Lo Duca into a flyout to end the inning.

"It was important to jump out to an early lead on him," said Reyes, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. "I've been working in the cage and been getting better pitches to hit. From the right side, yeah, sure, I have more power."

The Mets kept sounding off in the fourth with three more runs. Beltran walked to start the inning, followed by Delgado's double to left-center, chasing Mulder from the game. Delgado has hit in seven straight games, batting .444 (12-for-27) during that period. Wright greeted Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock with a double to left, scoring the Carlos tandem. Wright would come around to score later in the inning on a single by Milledge.

"We have a potent offense," said Wright, who went 1-for-4. "We can beat you with the long ball, speed, so many different ways."

And it's a good thing, too, as the Redbirds played a tune similar to the Mets, mounting a comeback quite like the Mets' victory on Tuesday. Two runs came across in the fifth, thanks to Jose Vizcaino's blast with one on to right field.

Then, the Cardinals chased Trachsel in the sixth with a little help from the Beatles-imposters. After the inning-break, the group continued to blare on, even though the players and umpires were ready to start play. Trachsel and Delgado, along with home-plate umpire Joe West, stared at the outfield, looking in awe as the band unknowingly rocked on. Finally, the music stopped.

But it continued for the Cardinals as the break threw off Trachsel's rhythm. First, Scott Rolen drilled a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall. Then, Preston Wilson followed with a solo shot to right-center field. After Trachsel walked Juan Encarnacion, his night was over, as manager Willie Randolph summoned Roberto Hernandez from the bullpen.

"Someone needs to tell them when a batter's in the box, we're ready to play," said Trachsel, who threw 87 pitches, 50 for strikes. "But otherwise, I just struggled from the start. My pitches were up, and then I tried to get them down, but when I did, then they dropped too low. We wound up using guys [in the bullpen] that we didn't need to. I definitely got away with one tonight."

Hernandez was able to stamp out the fire in the sixth and, along with relievers Pedro Feliciano and Chad Bradford, keep the Redbirds from scoring in the seventh. But St. Louis got things clicking again in the eighth.

Rolen drilled a double to left off Bradford to start the inning, followed by Wilson's ground-rule double to left in which Rolen scored. After Encarnacion grounded out to first, Ronnie Belliard singled to left, scoring Wilson. Bradford induced pinch-hitter Gary Bennett into a grounder before he was relieved by Aaron Heilman. Heilman entered the game and promptly struck out pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio.

"Heilman did another great job," Randolph said. "What can you say? It wasn't Trachs night tonight, and it's a good thing our bats were clicking."

And the 'pen as well. After Heilman stopped the threat in the eighth, Billy Wagner closed the door with his 32nd save of the season.

With the win, the Mets have now won 10 consecutive games at Shea, the longest streak in Flushing since they won 11 at the end of 1995 season. It's the first time since April 23-25, 2002, that the Mets have won a series over the Cardinals.

While not pretty, Trachsel picked up his fourth win in a row. The right-hander pitched five innings and allowed six hits and six runs with three walks and one strikeout.

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.