NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Wainwright pitched into the seventh inning for his 198th win, Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the New York Mets 5-3 on Saturday.
Jordan Walker also went deep for the Cardinals (28-43), who began the day with the worst record in the National League. Brendan Donovan and pinch-hitter Dylan Carlson each had an RBI single as St. Louis won for only the fourth time in 17 games.
“I’d rather be the guy that just continues a streak of winning,” Wainwright said. “But we needed to win today so I was grateful to be on the mound when we did.”
On a windy afternoon in Queens, Brandon Nimmo launched Wainwright’s first pitch for his ninth career leadoff homer and second in five days. Luis Guillorme had a two-run shot for the fourth-place Mets (33-37), who have dropped 10 of 13.
Pitching at Citi Field for perhaps the final time, the 41-year-old Wainwright (3-1) tossed a season-high 6 1/3 innings. He needs two wins to become the fifth active pitcher with 200.
“He’s got a little bit of history, yeah,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said with a grin. “And he’s inching closer to that big number. We’re excited about it.”
Wainwright gave up three runs and struck out three in his longest outing since last Aug. 28. He missed the first month of the season recovering from a groin injury sustained at the World Baseball Classic.
Wainwright allowed the leadoff batter to reach in four of his six full innings, but induced a pair of double-play grounders.
“The wind’s howling, so the main thing (is) I was trying to keep the ball on the ground,” he said. “My main focus was just making a pitch — making pitch after pitch. Lucky we got some good pitches, got some key double plays.”
Wainwright made his big league debut against the Mets in September 2005, allowing three runs in an inning of relief. He was still a rookie reliever when he saved Games 5 and 7 of the 2006 NL Championship Series versus New York, sending St. Louis to the World Series by striking out potential winning run Carlos Beltrán looking with the bases loaded at Shea Stadium.
The right-hander is 5-2 with a 3.53 ERA in nine regular-season games (eight starts) at Citi Field and Shea Stadium.
“I didn’t get a chance to go changeup, curveball, curveball again this time,” Wainwright said with a smile, referencing his decisive sequence against Beltrán. “I love playing here. Actually got some applause from Mets fans tonight, which was very surprising and I appreciated it. They’re good guys.
“Probably, they want me to leave.”
Jordan Hicks, the Cardinals’ third reliever, struck out three in the ninth — including Starling Marte looking for the last out — for his first save since June 14, 2019, when he closed out a 5-4 win over the Mets at Citi Field in a game that was suspended due to rain the night before.
Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery fewer than two weeks later and entered Saturday with a 4.79 ERA in 72 games, including eight starts, since his return in 2021.
“It’s like that feeling that you just don’t forget — it’s just a different kind of energy out there when the game’s on the line, it’s the last inning and you know if you get it done, we get a W,” Hicks said.
Kodai Senga (6-4) took the loss after giving up four runs and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings. The Mets fell to 19-2 when their starting pitcher goes at least six innings.
“One pitch can make a big difference,” Senga said through an interpreter. “When I’m not able to execute like I should, it leads to these types of outings.”
Guillorme made a rare start at shortstop after Francisco Lindor’s wife gave birth early Saturday morning.
FINE AFTER 40
Wainwright was the second 40-something pitcher to face the Mets over the past two weekends. Pittsburgh lefty Rich Hill, who turned 43 in March, tossed seven innings of two-run ball in the Pirates’ 14-7 win on June 9 — more than 16 years after his first appearance against New York, a six-inning stint for the Chicago Cubs on May 16, 2007.
Cardinals: Carlson, hit on the left elbow by a 91 mph cutter in the seventh inning Friday night, was a late scratch from the starting lineup before coming off the bench in the ninth. … OF Tyler O’Neill (back) could begin swinging a bat Monday.
Mets: Lindor, who started the Mets’ previous 178 games, pinch-hit in the ninth inning and was hit by a 102 mph fastball from Hicks.
Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-3, 5.71 ERA) opposes LHP Matthew Liberatore (1-2, 5.14) in Sunday’s series finale. St. Louis is one of four teams Carrasco has never beaten in his 14-year career. Liberatore, a 23-year-old rookie, will face New York for the first time.