Pedro's win over Cards more stressful than World Series

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The way the New York Mets' road trip went,
Pedro Martinez considered pitching to avoid a series sweep more
stressful than his start in the World Series last fall.

Martinez stopped his own two-game skid as well as the Mets'
six-game losing streak, working eight strong innings in a 7-2
victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

He beat the Cardinals with seven shutout innings in Game 3 of
the World Series, helping the Red Sox sweep for their first
championship since 1918.

"I think in the World Series it was easy for me to relax,"
Martinez said. "I had a space to actually make mistakes. But the
way we're looking right now, we're not going to last very long."

Carlos Beltran homered and Mike Jacobs doubled twice with an RBI
to help the Mets beat the Cardinals for the first time in 12 games
on the road and avoid a four-game sweep. Victor Diaz hit a
three-run homer in the ninth off Adam Wainwright.

New York, which rested Mike Piazza a day after he was beaned,
won for only the third time in 15 games overall and completed a 2-8
road trip to Florida, Atlanta and St. Louis that damaged its
wild-card hopes.

"There's no reason obsessing about it now," manager Willie
Randolph said. "It's over, done with, and you can move on, but
obviously it was nowhere near what we were expecting to do."

Randolph said his young team can learn some valuable lessons.

"I just told them to make sure they don't like the taste they
have in their mouth, that they spit it out right away," Randolph
said. "Our guys are pretty sharp, they've got a lot of talent and
it's all part of growing pains.

"Sometimes you learn the hard way."

Martinez (14-7) allowed two runs and eight hits with seven
strikeouts and a walk. He had lost his previous two outings while
allowing eight runs in 13 innings and had been 1-4 in his previous
eight starts.

"I took it personally, I wanted to go out and try to do it and
make it as easy as possible for us to win a ballgame," Martinez
said. "I battled with whatever I had so I could get away with a
win, not only for myself but for my team."

The Cardinals advanced only two runners into scoring position
the first seven innings against Martinez, who benefited from four
double plays. He tired a bit in the eighth, allowing an RBI double
to Hector Luna and a run-scoring groundout to pinch-hitter John
Gall that cut the gap to 4-2.

"You think you've got him figured out and he comes up with
something new," John Mabry said after going 0-for-3 with two
strikeouts against Martinez. "Never the same pattern twice, never
the same pitches twice."

Matt Morris (14-8) held the Mets scoreless until the fifth with
almost all hard stuff before running into trouble the rest of his
stint, giving up four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Morris threw to batters instead of in the bullpen between
starts, concentrating on a sinking fastball after getting knocked
out in the fifth of his previous start. He fell to 6-3 against the
Mets, losing to them for the first time since April 23, 2003, at
Shea Stadium.

"I thought I threw the ball a lot better than I have been the
last couple times," Morris said. "I didn't get any breaks. When
going against a guy like Pedro, you've got to be on top of your

Jacobs and Ramon Castro hit consecutive doubles leading off the
fifth to put the Mets ahead, and Jacobs' two-out RBI double made it
2-0 in the sixth. Jose Reyes tripled to lead off the seventh and
scored on Kaz Matsui's sacrifice fly, and Beltran followed with his
15th homer to make it 4-0.

Game notes
Mets RF Cliff Floyd, who left Saturday's game with a tight
hamstring, did not play Sunday as a precaution. The Mets have a day
off Monday and Floyd hopes to play on Tuesday. ... Home plate
umpire Ed Hickox was scratched due to illness, and the game was
played with a three-man crew. ... Paid attendance of 45,884 was the
Cardinals' 42nd sellout, and 17th in a row, in the final year at
40-year-old Busch Stadium. ... Reyes' triple was his major
league-leading 16th of the season. ... Mets players wore seven
different hats representing agencies that lost personnel in the
attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Martinez wore a hat with the initials,
FDNY, or Fire Department New York.