The Cardinals were beaten 6-2 by the Mets on Thursday at Shea Stadium, completing a three-game sweep by the New Yorkers. Almost unbelievably, it was the fourth time in four weeks that the Cardinals had been swept. Carpenter, the defending Cy Young Award winner, pitched in just one of those four series and was not in action in this one.
Still, the Cardinals returned home in first place in the National League Central and holding a schedule advantage. Their next nine games will be at home against the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates, all under .500. Meanwhile, second-place Cincinnati has a 10-game trip to the West Coast. The Cardinals dropped to just six games over .500 after being 16 over a couple of times this season. Jason Marquis wasn't all that bad in losing his 12th in 25 decisions.
He gave up a two-run homer to the Mets' Carlos Delgado in the fifth. Marquis also gave up three runs in the third, although right fielder Preston Wilson, running on wet ground and nearing the box-seat railing, whiffed on a drive by Paul Lo Duca that was ruled a triple.
REPLAY: After blowing a 7-1 lead in the first game of the series against the Mets, the Cardinals failed to lead at any time in the last two games of a showdown between the two teams with the best records in the National League. New York first baseman Carlos Delgado turned a one-run lead into a three-run cushion with a fifth-inning homer off Jason Marquis, and the Mets went on to a 6-2 win and a three-game series sweep.
--C Yadier Molina sat out Thursday with a sore throwing elbow that he said he had been bothering him for a while. Backup Gary Bennett, hitting close to .500 against Mets starter Dave Williams and over .400 against left-handers overall, took advantage of a rare start by homering to drive in both Cardinals runs.
--CF Jim Edmonds, who hasn't started since Aug. 15, will start Friday night against the Cubs. Edmonds has been suffering the effects of post-concussion syndrome. "Until he runs the bases 100 percent and chases after balls, I don't think you're really going to know," manager Tony La Russa said.
--The Cardinals were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Thursday.