From a standings viewpoint, it cut St. Louis' lead to onrushing Cincinnati to one game in the National League Central Division. But from a psychological standpoint, it might have been even more damaging.
Not only did the Cardinals waste Albert Pujols' seven-RBI night, achieved on a three-run homer and grand slam in back-to-back innings, but they squandered a 7-1 lead. And their closer, Jason Isringhausen, blew his ninth save in 39 tries -- a very high percentage -- when he served up a first-pitch, two-run, game-losing homer to Carlos Beltran with one out in the ninth inning.
The Cardinals had chances to put the game away, even after the Mets had clawed back into it on the strength of Carlos Delgado's slam in the fifth off Jeff Weaver. But Pujols grounded into a double play with two runners on to end the seventh, and Ronnie Belliard did the same in the eighth.
Neophyte left fielder Chris Duncan, a converted first baseman, hurt the Cardinals in the four-run Mets fifth when he dropped a fly ball after shortstop Aaron Miles, new to the position, didn't get out of the way as the two chased Jose Reyes' popup. But Duncan also made a diving catch to rob Reyes in the first inning and extended his hitting streak to nine games with a fourth-inning double.
REPLAY: Jason Isringhausen blew his ninth save Tuesday while surrendering his 10th homer in 53 1/3 innings, lifting the Mets to an 8-7 win over the Cardinals. The homer Isringhausen gave up to Carlos Beltran with one out in the ninth inning came after Paul Lo Duca had singled.
Albert Pujols, setting a personal high for RBIs and passing the 100-RBI mark for the sixth straight season, accounted for all seven St. Louis runs with a three-run homer off John Maine in the fourth inning and a grand slam off Maine in the fifth.
--LHP Mark Mulder will come off the disabled list to make his first start in more than two months when he faces the Mets on Wednesday. Mulder has had shoulder issues.
Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Mulder eliminated the impingement in his left shoulder through training room work and a new delivery with an adjusted arm slot. Duncan said Mulder's last sideline throwing session Sunday was very good.
--While making a move to get LHP Mark Mulder on the roster, the Cardinals also may have to get an infielder. SS David Eckstein is likely to be out another week or more with his strained left oblique muscle, and general manager Walt Jocketty said he was looking for help both within the system and without. A possible alternative is INF Jose Vizcaino, who has been cut loose by the Giants and is about to clear waivers, although the Cardinals may be interested in Arizona INF Craig Counsell, too.
--CF Jim Edmonds didn't start for the sixth consecutive game because of post-concussion syndrome.
--RHP Jason Isringhausen's loss was his seventh in 11 decisions. His nine blown saves are a career high.
--LF Chris Duncan, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, is 15-for-26 over the last seven.
BY THE NUMBERS: 16 -- Difference between the visitors and the Cardinals (73-57) in home runs at Busch Stadium.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You have to wonder where we go from here." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on the availability of CF Jim Edmonds, who has post-concussion syndrome.
SS David Eckstein didn't play Aug. 19-22 due to a strained left oblique muscle. He is likely to miss at least a week, trainer Barry Weinberg said. CF Jim Edmonds left the game Aug. 15 with dizziness caused by post-concussion syndrome. He didn't play Aug. 16-18, appeared as a late-inning replacement on Aug. 19-20, and didn't play Aug. 21-22. He is day-to-day.
LHP Mark Mulder went on the disabled list retroactive to June 21 with a left shoulder strain. He made a third minor league rehab start for Triple-A Memphis on Aug. 17, and he is scheduled to start for the Cardinals on Aug. 23.
OF Larry Bigbie went on the disabled list June 6 with a hernia, and he had surgery on June 8. He started a rehab assignment July 12, but he was shut down July 22 after suffering abdominal pain. He resumed his rehab Aug. 2 with Double-A Springfield, then was shut down again in mid-August because of abdominal discomfort.
LHP Ricardo Rincon went on the disabled list retroactive to April 19 with a left shoulder injury. He underwent surgery to repair rotator cuff and impingement problems and will miss the remainder of the season.