Series: Game 3 of 3

St. Louis won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, May 18
St. Louis4Final
NY Mets5
Game 2: Wednesday, May 19
St. Louis1Final
NY Mets0
Game 3: Thursday, May 20
St. Louis11Final
NY Mets4

Cardinals 11

(22-19, 12-6 away)

Mets 4

(19-22, 9-10 home)

    1:10 PM ET, May 20, 2004

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000202016 11 15 0
    NYM 200100001 4 8 3

    W: J. Marquis (3-3)

    L: J. Seo (2-4)

    Rolen muscles one out; St. Louis wins series

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Scott Rolen was leading the major leagues in RBI without hitting a home run for nearly month. He had 14 multihit games and was hitting a cool .350. But the longball was missing in action.

    No more.

    Rolen hit his first homer in 24 games, a two-run shot in a six-run ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Mets 11-4 Thursday.

    "I thought he hit three homers today," manager Tony La Russa said. "I wrote down three."

    The Mets denied Rolen of the other two.

    Karim Garcia leaped and reached over the right-field fence to rob him of a homer in the fifth inning.

    "He made a great play," Rolen said.

    Then Cliff Floyd went to the left-field fence for another Rolen rocket in the seventh and turned it into a double play, when his relay caught Albert Pujols retreating to first base.

    Finally, in the ninth, Rolen hit his ninth of the season, a relief after the long dry spell.

    "We're trying to win series," Rolen said. "You look back. We won two out of three in New York You can't ask for more."

    Rolen had three hits in the first game, doubled home the only run in the second and then ended the homerless streak in the third. Not a bad series.

    "He's been that way every day," La Russa said. "What's today? May 20? He's been that way for six weeks."

    So Taguchi had four hits, driving in two runs and scoring two more for the Cardinals, who recovered after losing a game in the ninth inning on Tuesday. Taguchi, who was on base five times, doubled home a run in the fourth inning to tie the score, singled home another in the sixth as the Cardinals moved ahead to stay and doubled and scored in the ninth.

    "He had an outstanding game," La Russa said of Taguchi, who played 10 years in Japan before coming to America two years ago. "He's as fundamentally sound as anybody. He plays the game exactly right. He's a good player."

    Rolen's homer touched off the Cardinals' wrapup rally. St. Louis batted around and broke the game open with six runs behind three New York errors and a lost flyball in the sun.

    The Cards took the lead in the sixth when Jim Edmonds opened with a single and went to third on a double by Reggie Sanders. That finished Jae Seo (2-4) and Orber Moreno relieved. Taguchi singled off Moreno, scoring Edmonds and then Sanders scored when third baseman Todd Zeile bobbled Mike Matheny's groundball.

    The Cardinals added a run in the eighth when Taguchi singled, and then put it away in the ninth on Rolen's homer off David Weathers, a two-run double by Matheny and an RBI single from Edgar Renteria.

    Ray Lankford scored the final run when Pujols reached on an error for the second time in the inning -- one each by first baseman Mike Piazza and Zeile.

    Shortstop Kaz Matsui was also charged with an error on a bad throw, and Mike Cameron fell to his knees in center field when he lost Taguchi's fly in the sun. Taguchi was given a double.

    Zeile supplied the Mets with the early lead, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning after Matsui beat out an infield single.

    Zeile was a surprise starter after taking eight stitches in his right ear Wednesday night. He was injured when he was hit by second baseman Tony Womack on a slide in the seventh inning.

    The Cardinals got even in the fourth. Pujols hit his 10th home run for the first hit against Seo. With two outs, Edmonds walked and Sanders singled. Then Taguchi doubled to right, tying the score at 2-2.

    The Mets regained the lead in the fourth when Vance Wilson doubled, Cameron singled and Danny Garcia walked, loading the bases with none out. Cardinals starter Jason Marquis (3-3) got two strikes on Seo and then hit him with a pitch, forcing in a run. It was Seo's first major league RBI.

    Marquis pitched out of trouble several times. He gave up hits to Floyd and Piazza following Zeile's homer in the first but got a double-play ball to escape the jam. The Mets had the bases loaded with none out after scoring in the fourth but Marquis got Matsui, Zeile and Floyd. In the fifth, he stranded two more Mets, getting Garcia for the third out.

    Game notes

    Marquis hit two Mets batters, Floyd in the third and Seo in the fourth. ... The Mets placed pitcher Al Leiter on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 12. Leiter missed his last start because of left shoulder tendinitis and received a cortisone shot earlier this week.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press