St. Louis’ five-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday when the Cardinals fell to the New York Mets 3-2 at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis scored first and held the lead through the midway point of the game, but that was it as the Mets came back to avoid being swept.
“Obviously sweeps are better than winning two out of three,” Cardinals leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter said. “But, at the end of the day, we won another series and if we can continue that and win the rest of them, we will be happy with how that works out.”
Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny gave the slumping leadoff hitter the day off Tuesday. Back in the lineup Wednesday, quickly ended his 0-for-9 funk when he homered off Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon to lead off the game.
“He left one out over the plate and I was able to put a good swing on it,” Carpenter said. “He didn’t make any mistakes after that one. He did a good job.”
Carpenter sent Colon’s third pitch of the game, an 88 MPH fastball, 399-feet into the Cardinals’ bullpen, giving the Redbirds an early 1-0 lead. The blast was Carpenter’s third of the season and his third career leadoff home run.
What started off promising however, did not finish that way. The Cardinals would not score another run until Carpenter crossed the plate again in the bottom of the ninth.
“(Colon) was in control of the game the whole way,” Matheny said. “Carp put him in a bad spot in the first. After that, he found his groove.”
New York took control in the top of the sixth with some surprise offense from its pitcher.
“(Colon) is not known for his bat,” Matheny said. “That started the toughest inning for Lance (Lynn) which ended up running him from the game with double, double to start the inning.”
Entering the game, Colon was 0-for-26 for the season. He sacrificed his first at bat, but nothing came of it. Now, leading off the sixth, Colon doubled down the left field line. The Mets’ pitcher jogged into second base standing up for his first hit of the season.
“It was one of those things where I thought there was no way (Colon) was swinging,” Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn said. “He swung and it in all honesty, that at bat right there, cost us the game.”
Eric Young then traded places with Colon, doubling to right center to score Colon and tie the game at 1-1.
The double was the first extra base hit of Colon’s career and his first overall hit since 2005. The base hit ended an 0-for-43 streak that started in ’05 while Colon was in the midst of a Cy Young Award winning season with the Los Angeles Angels. His last hit was an RBI single against the Mets that the Halos won 12-2.
“You don’t expect him to be the one to start something like that and he did,” Lynn said. “I guess he was due. It was a good swing in all honesty. I was surprised by it.”
Young moved to third on a ground out before scoring on David Wright’s single to take a 2-1 lead. Wright tried to take second on the play, but was thrown out at second by Allen Craig. Wright was the second Met to be thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. David Murphy was thrown out at second by Jon Jay to open the fourth.
That was it for Lance Lynn (7-5). The Cardinals’ starting pitcher threw 88 pitches over six innings of work. He walked four, three of them going to Curtis Granderson and scattered five hits. Lynn struck out five.
“I was good for the most part,” Lynn said, “but, what happened in the sixth cost us the game. I have got to be better in that situation. I was throwing the ball pretty well and I let it get out of hand there for a couple of hitters.”
Seth Maness took over to start the seventh. After a fly out, Wilmer Flores singled and moved to second on Colon’s second sacrifice bunt of the game. Young then drilled his second double of the game down the left field line and into the stands for a ground rule double. Flores scored  what turned out to be a much needed insurance run on the play, increasing the Mets’ lead over St. Louis to 3-1.
The Cardinals had just six hits, but three of them came in the final two innings of play. Aside from Carpenter’s home run, Yadier Molina, Daniel Descalso, and Allen Craig each singled while Jon Jay and Carpenter both doubled.
Molina was erased on a Kolten Wong double play. Following Jay’s double, Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch, but with no outs, Craig hit into his team-leading 10th double play of the year. Jay moved to third on the double play, but was left stranded when Matt Adams popped out to end the inning. Descalso’s single came with two out in the bottom of the eighth, but like Jay, he was left stranded.
Carpenter opened the ninth with a double down the right field line against Mets’ closer Jenrry Mejia. Jay reached when he was hit by a pitch. But, like Craig in the fourth, Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play that moved Carpenter to third.
With the game on the line, Craig came through this time. He singled to deep short, in an area where the throw had to  be perfect and Craig was able to beat it out, allowing Carpenter to score.
With two outs, Dana Eveland relieved Mejia to face Adams. Eveland got the save when he got Adams to ground out to end the game.
As for Colon (7-5), he allowed just four hits on 86 pitches over eight innings. Colon struck out one and walked none while allowing just one run. At one point, Colon retired 13 straight Cardinal hitters.
“He does a good job of throwing strikes,” Carpenter said. “He doesn’t walk anybody. He just throws fast balls on both sides of the plate. He still has some deception. His velocity is not what it used to be, but he is a good pitcher. It was impressive with him being able to do what he did today in the heat. He just kept making pitches and we weren’t able to get enough runs against him.”
Colon has never lost to St. Louis. Wednesday’s win moved him to 4-0  (six starts) in his career against the Cardinals.
“We have had trouble with him a couple of times now,” Matheny said. “He is smart. He is a guy that had over-powering stuff for a long time and now he has learned how to mix it up, mix speeds, add some movement and know how to expand the plate. He has pitched some good games against us.”
The Cardinals will start a four game series against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight. Shelby Miller (7-5) will get the call as he faces David Buchanan (2-3). First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.