When the Cardinals rolled up 10 wins in 12 games, they trailed in just one of those victories. But Tuesday night they had to come from behind twice.
The first comeback erased a 4-0 New York Mets lead as the Cardinals caught up at 5-5. The second comeback, a six-run seventh inning, rubbed out a 6-5 deficit.
The Cardinals' 11-6 win
left them 2 1/2 games behind wild-card leader
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who has said several times lately he doesn't agree with the September format of expanded rosters, played by the rules and then some. He pinch hit for pinch hitters twice in the inning, and both came through.
La Russa tried to steal a run when he sent Berkman to second, but the Mets didn't throw through and Pujols held third. David Freese's walk loaded the bases, and then the pinch-hitting madness ensued.
Counting a run-scoring single by Nick Punto in the seventh, the Cardinals got six RBI in the seventh inning from players who didn't come into the game until at least the sixth.
"It was a beautiful sight to behold," said La Russa. "It surely didn't look like it was going in that direction.
"But once a thing starts rolling sometimes, it's tough to put a cork on it."
Theriot has lost his starting job at shortstop to Rafael Furcal and plays only occasionally at second base. But he has had four RBI as a pinch hitter -- on two hits. "This has been a real character test (for Theriot), and he's passing it," said La Russa.
As for Chambers, a rookie, La Russa said, "He's a very confident guy. When he gets experience, he's got a chance to be an impactful major league player."
RHP Octavio Dotel struck out New York 3B David Wright with the bases loaded to end the seventh when the Mets had a chance to extend their 6-5 lead. "I don't think he expected back-to-back sliders off me. I kind of surprised him," said Dotel.
LF Matt Holliday's injured right middle finger, in which he has an inflamed tendon, is said to be improving, but manager Tony La Russa said Holliday wouldn't be playing in the three-game series with the Mets. "Over the last 48 hours, we are a little more optimistic," said general manager John Mozeliak. "But we're still not to the point where we know if he's going to be in a game." La Russa said that hitting rather than throwing would the bigger problem for Holliday, suggesting an immediate pinch-hitting appearance was unlikely.
1B Albert Pujols, whose average is a season-high .304, had his seventh four-hit game (all singles). He has reached base in 36 straight games, the longest current streak in the majors.
RHP Edwin Jackson, who
gave up five runs in five innings in a no-decision, remained at 60-60 for his
career. Having played for six teams, his record at home is 30-30 and on the
road, it's 30-30.
SS Rafael Furcal extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is 12 for 34 (.353). RF Lance Berkman also is at eight at 13-for-29 and got back to .300 besides reaching the 90 RBI plateau for the eighth time.
C Yadier Molina's double was his 30th of the season. He is the first Cardinals catcher to have 30 or more doubles since Ted Simmons in 1980.
BY THE NUMBERS: .370 - RF Lance Berkman's average with two outs and men in scoring position.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I guess it took us 152 or 153 games for us to figure things out."
- 1B Albert Pujols on the Cardinals' late rush.
LF Matt Holliday (inflamed tendon in middle finger of right hand) was injured while he was in the on-deck circle Sept. 13 and had to leave the game. An examination the next day revealed the inflammation, and it's questionable whether he will play again this season.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season. Wainwright was getting closer to throwing a full-strength bullpen session in September, but he will not be allowed to throw his signature curveball until next year.
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Ryan Theriot and Adron Chambers carried St. Louis to a 11-6 win against New York.