ST. LOUIS (AP) — After finally dialing in his delivery, Lance Lynn kept the Cardinals in the game just long enough.
Lynn overcame early control woes and St. Louis used a three-run seventh inning to snap a tie and beat the New York Mets 6-3 on Monday night.
"Early on I was just missing and I got a little bit upset with myself and got a little bit out of my game," Lynn said. "I was able to stay in and give my team a chance to win, that's what it's all about."
Lynn (6-1) allowed three runs on three hits and four walks the first two innings, and manager Mike Matheny said he was often missing to the third-base side of the plate. He only gave up one hit and one walk in his last five innings. He is 4-0 at home this season. It was the Cardinals' 10th win in the past 12 games.
"That really could have gone bad early on, but he fought his way through it," Matheny said. "He's a horse."
Rick Ankiel, signed by the Mets earlier in the day after clearing waivers and playing against the team that revived his career as a position player, just missed a diving catch on Ty Wigginton's pinch-hit bloop double to shallow center off Scott Rice (1-3) to open the seventh.
Ankiel's equipment didn't arrive and couldn't hang onto the ball using pitcher Jonathon Niese's glove.
"I do think if I have my glove it stays in there," Ankiel said. "I'm the type of person, if I get a glove on it I feel I should have caught it.
"I didn't. It stinks."
Matt Carpenter followed Wigginton's hit with a sharp grounder off Rice's leg and the ball rolled into foul territory down the first-base line. Wigginton never stopped running and his head-first slide barely beat the tag to snap a 3-3 tie. Matt Holliday homered with one out and Yadier Molina had an RBI double with two outs, both off Scott Atchison for the three-run cushion.
On his way to third, Wigginton saw catcher John Buck chasing after the ball "and obviously home plate was going to be open. So I took a chance."
Wigginton has two consecutive hits as a pinch hitter after a 1 for 12 start. He said the decision to keep running didn't need input from third base coach Jose Oquendo.
"The play's in front of me," Wigginton said. "So I believe you're probably your best base coach. To be honest, you're just playing baseball."
Mets manager Terry Collins said Rice deflected Carpenter's grounder on purpose to keep the ball in the infield, but then joined Buck in the chase to retrieve it and then was late covering the plate.
"John was yelling 'Get the plate, get the plate,'" Collins said. "He was caught up in the moment."
Atchison has been pitching since last year with a torn elbow ligament, and said after the game that his fingers were numb and tingling during the outing.
"If I can't grip the baseball, then I can't make the ball do what I want," Atchison said. "I feel like I've been managing it pretty good all year. Today, for whatever reason, the tingling came back."
Daniel Murphy had three hits with a two-run double for the Mets, busting out of a 7-for-54 slump with one RBI the previous 14 games. The Mets have dropped four straight.
Lynn threw a career-high 124 pitches, topping his previous high exactly one year ago in a loss to the Braves. Three relievers worked the last two innings with Edward Mujica earning his 10th save in 10 chances.
Lynn threw 54 pitches and Mets starter Jeremy Hefner needed 46 the first two innings in a game tied at 3, a distinct change after three straight days of pitching brilliance. Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa carried a no-hitter into the seventh Sunday, the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright went 7 2-3 innings before his no-hit bid ended Saturday and St. Louis rookie Shelby Miller retired the final 27 hitters after allowing a leadoff hit on Friday.
Three of the first four batters reached against Hefner including Allen Craig's RBI double just inside the third-base line for the lead and Jon Jay added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that barely counted when Matt Holliday sprinted home just ahead of third baseman David Wright's tag on Craig, attempting to advance on left fielder Lucas Duda's throw.
Murphy tied it in the second with a two-run double, a liner that right fielder Carlos Beltran lost running out of the shadows into a patch of sunlight in right. Murphy scored from second on an infield hit after shortstop Daniel Descalso could not handle Wright's slow roller and the ball rolled free.
Notes: LHP John Gast makes his major league debut for the Cardinals in place of injured Jake Westbrook on Tuesday night against Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55). Gast was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA at Triple-A Memphis and began the year with 32 consecutive scoreless innings. ... Chris Carpenter, all but ruled out for the season in February due to nerve issues in his shoulder, threw another bullpen session Monday and remained on track in his bid to return as a reliever, but there's no specific timetable. "When he puts his mind to something and his body cooperates, we know what kind of talent he has." ... Descalso got his third start at SS for St. Louis. ... Buck struck out three times for a total of 13 the last six games.