Jose Reyes had Citi Field buzzing from the moment he stepped out of the dugout right up until he quashed a rally in the eighth inning with his glove.
Carlos Beltran impressed everyone, too, swinging the bat as if losing five pounds in three days and having a 105-degree fever had no affect on him at all.
With their two All-Stars back in the lineup, the New York Mets showed some spunk in a crisp 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
“Our lineup certainly changes with those two guys in that order,” manager Terry Collins said.
Beltran reached base all five times with two doubles, a single and two walks. Angel Pagan and Daniel Murphy hit two-run doubles, and Dillon Gee (9-3) pitched seven sharp innings in the Mets’ second win in five games.
Lance Berkman hit a mammoth homer and starter Kyle Lohse (8-7) had an RBI single for St. Louis, which opened a stretch of 20 consecutive games with its third loss in four games after the All-Star break.
“They pitched better, played better, hit better,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “They had some key outs, we had some big misses.”
The Mets went 6-6 without Reyes, the majors’ leading hitter, but wilted in the humidity after the break, losing three of four to start a stretch that general manager Sandy Alderson said would determine how the club will proceed as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
Reyes gave everyone a spark on offense and defense. He had two hits and scored a run in five at-bats. It was his 44th multihit game of the season.
“It is a relief,” Reyes said. “I had no problems, no setbacks.”
His biggest contribution, though, came in the field. With one out and runners on first and second, Jon Jay hit a sharp grounder between shortstop and third base. Reyes made a diving stop to hold the runner at third, loading the bases for Albert Pujols.
Pujols fouled off two 100 mph pitches from Bobby Parnell then hit a grounder that Reyes fielded right at second base. He stepped on the bag and made a strong throw to nail Pujols at first, falling down on the follow through.
It was Pujols’ major league-leading 22nd double play.
“I thank Bobby for getting through Albert for me,” said Jason Isringhausen, who came on in the ninth for the Mets’ first save opportunity since trading Francisco Rodriguez — who had 23 of New York’s 24 saves this season — on the night of the All-Star game.
He pitched a perfect ninth for his first save since 2008, when he was with St. Louis. Isringhausen saved 217 games with the Cardinals before being injured. He wasn’t even sure he’d make the Mets roster this spring.
“I knew it was going to happen this way,” Isringhausen said of getting his first save against the Cardinals. “The baseball gods, that’s how they do it.”
Collins said that he’d likely go with Isringhausen as the closer but will try to spread the chances around.
“Right now Izzy would be the guy. Yes.” Collins said.
It was Isringhausen’s second save for the Mets. The other was the first of his career, in 1999.
Collins said before the game Pagan was unhappy in the leadoff spot while Reyes was out. He looked more comfortable batting fifth, lining a drive over right fielder Berkman’s head for two runs in the fifth. He got such a good jump out of the box that he nearly stopped between first and second to give Beltran a chance to round second base.
Pagan’s double was the Mets’ first hit with men in scoring position since Sunday. They were 0 for 5 Monday in a 4-1 loss to Florida.
“It’s where I’m better off for the team,” Pagan said of hitting fifth.
Murphy lined out to shortstop Ryan Theriot with the bases loaded ahead of Pagan. But Murphy came through in the sixth, greeting reliever Raul Valdes with a two-out, two-run double to left-center. Cursing into his helmet after failing in the fifth, Murphy pumped his arm over his head while standing on second base in the sixth.
Justin Turner singled and Beltran walked ahead of Murhpy’s hit. Beltran scored from first on the sharply hit ball for a 4-1 lead.
Gee gave up his first hit when David Freese’s high chopper back to the mound deflected off his glove and fell between shortstop and second base with one out in the fifth. An out later, Lohse, batting eighth, slapped a grounder over second base for his first RBI of the season.
Gee had lost his last two starts, giving up nine earned runs. His changeup baffled the Cardinals, though, and he gave up three hits and two runs.
Berkman hit a drive way over the bullpens in right-center and onto the pedestrian Shea Bridge, eliciting “wows” from the crowd of 35,448.
“He left it up, just a mistake, he didn’t make many,” Berkman said.
Lohse allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He gave up 11 earned runs in his previous two starts.
NOTES: Mets C Josh Thole went on the paternity list to be with his wife Kathryn, who had a boy, Camden. … Cardinals SS Theriot was suspended two games for making contact with an umpire Sunday. He appealed. … Mets 3B David Wright went 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored in a rehab game for Class-A St. Lucie. … Isringhausen’s other save with the Mets came on July 6, 1999, against Montreal. … Blaine Boyer, who was cut in early April, has the Mets other save this season.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.