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NYM@STL: Cards put up a six-spot in the seventh

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals went into Tuesday night's game with some momentum after taking three of four games in Philadelphia, and they kept it going with a late rally.

The Cards overcame an early four-run deficit, then trailed by one before breaking out with a six-run rally in the seventh. Clutch hits from pinch-hitters Ryan Theriot and rookie Adron Chambers -- both with two outs -- paved the way for an 11-6 victory over the Mets at Busch Stadium.

"It was a beautiful sight to behold," said manager Tony La Russa. "It didn't look like it was going in that direction. [Mets pitcher Josh Stinson] worked right through our first two hitters. I don't know, once the thing starts rolling, sometimes it's tough to pull the cork on it. Those were some huge at-bats from Ryan and from Adron."

The Cardinals (85-69) have now won six of their past seven games and 11 of their past 13. St. Louis remained 2 1/2 behind Atlanta in the National League Wild Card race after the Braves beat the Marlins, 4-0.

"We're throwing the ball well and scoring runs, and it's a lot of fun," Theriot said. "That's kind of the recipe for winning baseball games, and you have to ride the highs and win as many as you can. Hopefully, we'll have a shot here in a week. We'll see. We'll just keep winning ballgames."

St. Louis struck in the bottom of the seventh off Stinson, a rally that began with a two-out single by Albert Pujols, a chopper that bounced over the head of David Wright at third base.

The Cardinals took a 7-6 lead on Theriot's pinch-hit ground-rule double to center field off reliever Tim Byrdak. After an intentional walk to Yadier Molina, Chambers cleared the bases with a three-run triple to right off D.J. Carrasco, and Nick Punto followed with an RBI single to right to cap the outburst.

It was the fourth career at-bat for the 24-year-old Chambers, and his second big hit. The other was a game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning Friday against the Phillies.

"I'm just happy that my skip, Tony, trusts in me, you know?" Chambers said. "I mean, I bet you any one of these guys in this locker room would want to be in that situation to come through and get the big hit for the team and help us win."

The Mets (73-81) had jumped out to a lead in the first on a one-out, opposite-field RBI double by Lucas Duda, and then scored three runs in the third.

Jose Reyes drew a leadoff walk and Angel Pagan followed with a bunt single that advanced both runners on a throwing error by Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson. Reyes scored on a groundout by Wright and Pagan scored on a fielder's choice by Willie Harris, who made it 4-0 when he scored on a two-out RBI single by Josh Thole.

Jackson helped start a rally in the bottom of the third with a leadoff infield single and scored on a double into the left-field corner by Rafael Furcal, who went to third on a single by Allen Craig. Furcal scored on a groundout by Pujols -- his 97th RBI of the season -- and Craig scored on a two-out, opposite-field double by David Freese to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Mets starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey got some revenge against Jackson in the fifth inning with an RBI ground-rule double that put the Mets ahead, 5-3. The Cardinals tied the score with a two-run single by Lance Berkman in the bottom of the frame.

Jackson was relieved by Kyle McClellan for the sixth inning. Jackson, who was making his 11th start for the Cardinals, allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings of work, with four strikeouts and four walks -- and was not happy with his performance.

"The only thing we can do is just worry about the games we play," Jackson said. "If we win every game that we possibly can, and at the end of the day we fall short, we knew we fought and battled hard. Today is just a prime example of what this team is capable of. You get down early, you come back. You get down again and you come back. We put up 11. That's pretty impressive. That's what we're playing off right now. We're playing off the fight and the motivation, and we're just trying to keep it going."

McClellan tossed a scoreless sixth inning but ran into trouble in the seventh, when the first two batters reached base and he delivered back-to-back two-out walks to Reyes and Pagan to force in a run.

La Russa called on Octavio Dotel to put out the fire -- and he did, retiring Wright with a called third strike to end the threat.

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski tossed a scoreless eighth inning, and righty Fernando Salas threw a scoreless ninth to secure a victory for Dotel (4-3), who picked up the one-out save a night earlier.

"I guess it took us, what, 152 games, 153 games for us to figure out things?" said Pujols, who finished with four hits and raised his batting average to .304. "Obviously, we're having some good at-bats and facing some good pitching. They took the lead early, and Jackson kept us in the game and didn't let things get out of control. We were able to score some runs, three runs in one inning, and then we put some hits together in that big rally and scored some runs." Comments