(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- The Cardinals' bullpen hardly is straightened out. Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski served up a game-tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning Monday to New York Mets pinch hitter Scott Hairston. Then, right-hander Eduardo Sanchez was unable to navigate the eighth, giving up a run after the Cardinals again had gone ahead by two runs.
But, at the end -- this time four outs' worth -- was right-hander Jason Motte, who has been the most reliable pitcher in the bullpen from the start of the season. Teasingly close to 100 miles an hour with a couple of his deliveries, Motte retired the final four hitters in order, striking out two, as the Cardinals salvaged one game of a four-game series at Citi Field, 5-4, against the Mets. The save was the ninth in 12 tries for Motte.
The victory stopped the Cardinals losing streak at five games. It also marked the fifth consecutive no-decision for right-hander Kyle Lohse, who still has five wins although Lohse pitched brilliantly for six innings Monday, allowing just two hits and one run.
But even though Lohse was at only 76 pitches, manager Mike Matheny went for the big inning in the seventh, sending up pinch hitter Matt Adams to hit for Lohse with the bases loaded and nobody out. Adams struck out, but the Mets muffed a couple of plays in the field and the Cardinals got two runs anyway.
Rzepczynski, an unlikely winning pitcher, gave those two runs right back, but then first baseman Allen Craig, who has 22 RBI in just 58 at-bats this season, jacked a 2-1 high fastball from Jon Rauch into the seats in left-center field for his sixth homer in the eighth inning.
"Much needed," said Matheny of the victory.
The Cardinals' offense, ranked tops in the National League, had tallied just one run in the first 30 innings of the series. "We have a really good offense, but it's tough to do it every night," said Craig. "We're too talented to be in a slump for too long."
The win kept the Cardinals from falling under .500 for the first time this season.