No matter how many All-Stars get injured, the New York Mets plan to stick around in the pennant race.
Tim Redding pitched into the eighth inning for his first win with the Mets and substitute setup man Brian Stokes got Albert Pujols to ground into a crucial doubleplay, leading New York past the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4, last night.
Daniel Murphy homered and Omir Santos went 4-for-4 in an uplifting victory for the Mets, hours after they received another dose of disheartening news. Star centerfielder Carlos Beltran went on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise on his right knee, a huge blow to a team already decimated by key injuries.
"It's got to be huge to know we can compete after losing a huge player like Carlos," Stokes said.
Before the game, New York manager Jerry Manuel said he would keep a close eye on the spirit of his squad, also missing shortstop Jose Reyes, first baseman Carlos Delgado and three important pitchers.
But the Mets' makeshift lineup responded with 14 hits and the pitching staff held a streaking Pujols in check.
A difficult day almost got even worse for the Mets. Reyes and trainer Ray Ramirez were rear-ended by a fire truck on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge en route to the hospital for a checkup. Nobody was hurt, team spokesman Jay Horwitz said.
In another NL game:
* At Atlanta, Javier Vazquez and three relievers combined to shut out the Chicago Cubs, 2-0. In a makeup game caused by a June 4 rainout, the Braves won a series for the first time since completing a three-game sweep of Toronto on May 24.
In interleague games:
* At Oakland, Trevor Cahill (5-5) held San Francisco to four hits in seven innings and Bobby Crosby drove in three runs as the Athletics beat the Giants, 5-1.
* At Anaheim, Colorado's Aaron Cook (7-3) held the Angels to three hits in seven innings and Seth Smith homered and drove in four runs as the Rockies beat Los Angeles, 11-1. It was Colorado's sixth straight win and 17th in 18 games.
* Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez had surgery to remove four bone chips in his right elbow and is expected to miss 4 to 5 weeks. *