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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Cardinals 2

By Adam Rubin

Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: With scouts from a bevy of teams -- including the Phillies -- watching, Carlos Beltran as well as Jose Reyes successfully returned to the lineup in a 4-2 win against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Beltran, who missed three games and lost five pounds with the flu, went 3-for-3 with two walks. He doubled in each of his first two plate appearances. He then walked in his third and fourth trips to the plate. Beltran is now hitting .564 (22-for-39) with 11 walks in 51 career plate appearances against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse.

Reyes went 2-for-5 and demonstrated no ill effects from the left hamstring strain that had sent him to the disabled list.

GEE WHIZ: In his first major league action in 12 days, Dillon Gee took a no-hit bid one out into the fifth inning. Gee walked Lance Berkman, then failed to field a comebacker from David Freese. Official scorer Howie Karpin properly ruled it an infield hit, although the crowd groaned. Later in the inning, opposing pitcher Lohse -- placed in the No. 8 hole by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa -- singled up the middle past Gee to score Berkman with the game’s opening run.

Gee surrendered a monstrous solo homer in the seventh to Berkman -- the former Astro’s National League-leading 26th long ball. The shot landed on the Shea Bridge. Gee nonetheless limited St. Louis to two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in seven innings.

Unlike Lohse, Gee (9-3) could not come through with runners in scoring position. Gee batted with a runner on third base and two out in the second and fourth innings and was retired each time. Mets pitchers entered the series batting an NL-low .080, with long-departed Chris Young accounting for three of the 13 hits.

LIVE AT FIVE: Angel Pagan, who struggled in the leadoff spot, returned to the No. 5 hole with Reyes’ activation and produced a two-run double in the fifth inning with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Jason Bay then struck out and, after Lucas Duda walked, Ronny Paulino lined out softly to second base as the Mets stranded the bases loaded.

No matter. Daniel Murphy upped the Mets’ lead to three runs an inning later with a two-run double off ex-Met Raul Valdes, with both runs charged to Lohse. Murphy entered the game hitting .360 (71-for-197) since May 21, the second-highest average in the majors during that span, trailing only Reyes’ .406.

POST-K-ROD TRACKER: In the first save opportunity since the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth inning and notched career save No. 294. Isringhausen produced his first save since Aug. 1, 2008 with the Cardinals against Philadelphia. Izzy's last save as a Met came July 6, 1999.

Bobby Parnell turned over a two-run lead to Izzy for the ninth. Barely. St. Louis loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Albert Pujols grounded into his second double play of the game. On the preceding play, Parnell benefited from a diving stop by Reyes on a Jon Jay grounder. That grab kept the ball in the infield for a single and loaded the bases but kept St. Louis off the scoreboard.

It marked only the second time in four years Pujols has grounded into two double plays in the same game, according to STATS.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (4-8, 3.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle McClellan (6-6, 4.24) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in Game 2 of the series. Josh Thole should return to the active roster after missing one game on paternity leave, with Ruben Tejada expected to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Thole’s wife Kathyrn gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Camden, at 8:41 p.m.