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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Cardinals 5 (10)

By Adam Rubin

Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Jason Isringhausen has found his niche at the back end of the bullpen. Izzy tossed scoreless ninth and 10th innings, striking out Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman consecutively during the 34-pitch appearance. The Mets then won it when Angel Pagan belted a walk-off homer off Fernando Salas. Isringhausen tossed two scoreless innings for the first time since May 27, 2009 with Tampa Bay against Cleveland. It was Pagan's first career walk-off homer and second career walk-off RBI.

The Mets moved a game over .500 at 49-48.

FATHER’S DAY: New father Josh Thole delivered his second RBI of the night, a game-tying single with two out in the eighth that plated Pagan. Thole’s performance came in his first game back after a one-day paternity leave for the birth of son Camden.

A half-inning earlier, the Cardinals had grabbed a 5-4 lead when Gerald Laird’s bunt single up the third-base line with two out and runners on the corners scored Holliday. Laird has the most bunt hits of any catcher in baseball since his major league debut in 2003 with 38, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Holliday singled to open the inning against Bobby Parnell, advanced to second when he hustled and tagged up on a flyout, then moved to third base on a groundout. Holliday had been cheating down the third-base line enough at one point before Parnell delivered the pitch bunted by Laird that third baseman Daniel Murphy started toward the bag for a potential pickoff throw and Holliday had to scamper back.

SICK BAY: Jason Bay left the game in the fourth inning with what the team announced as a tight right hamstring. Willie Harris replaced Bay in left field.

THE KING AND PEDRO: Pujols, who had been out of the starting lineup to avoid his swing being hampered by facing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, pinch-hit in the seventh inning with the score tied at 4 and Daniel Descalso on third base. Terry Collins countered by inserting right-hander Pedro Beato, who coaxed a foul pop-up to first base from the Cardinals slugger for the final out of the frame.

Tim Byrdak had inherited a runner on third and one out from Dickey earlier in the inning and forced a groundout to shortstop by pinch-hitter Tony Cruz. That prompted Descalso to hold at third base and set up the Beato-Pujols matchup.

SCOUT MASTER: With a pair of Phillies scouts -- including director of major league scouting Gordon Lakey -- among the bevy of officials from other teams in attendance at Citi Field, Carlos Beltran belted a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth off Kyle McClellan. It was Beltran’s 15th homer this season.

The Mets trailed 4-0 until beginning to claw back with a two-run third inning that included Thole’s RBI double and a run-scoring infield single by Dickey, who went 2-for-2.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (9-7, 3.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.26) in Thursday’s 12:10 p.m. series finale.