Ryan’s rope wins it

Cardinals also bring in Troy Percival to bolster the bullpen.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:32 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Brendan Ryan’s 11th-inning solo homer sparked the Cardinals to a 5-3 win at Shea Stadium.

NEW YORK — Brendan Ryan hit his first career home run in the 11th inning and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped the New York Mets’ four-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Tuesday night.

Down to their final strike in the ninth, the Mets tied it at 3 when Shawn Green drew a walk against closer Jason Isringhausen and scored on Jose Valentin’s double. Isringhausen avoided further damage, however, and the Cardinals soon recovered.

Ryan, a rookie, had three hits and two RBIs. Scott Spiezio and Juan Encarnacion each drove in a run for St. Louis, which snapped an eight-game losing streak in the regular season against the NL East-leading Mets.

Paul Lo Duca’s solo shot in the eighth off Russ Springer cut it to 3-2.

Ryan homered to left off Scott Schoeneweis (0-2), booed loudly when he left with two outs and runners on first and third. The Cardinals added another run when Valentin booted an easy chopper to second, allowing pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy to score from third on the error.

Isringhausen got two quick outs in the ninth before walking Green, who hit a game-winning homer in the 11th inning Monday night. With Green running on the pitch, Valentin doubled down the right-field line to tie it.

After a walk to pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee, pinch-hitter Julio Franco grounded out, ending the rally.

Brad Thompson (6-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Randy Flores got two outs for his first save, the third of his career and first since 2005. With a runner on second, he retired Green and Valentin to end it.

A night after managing just three hits, the Mets had six — four after the first inning.

The late Mets rally spoiled Todd Wellemeyer’s chance for a win in his best start since joining St. Louis’ rotation in late May.

Oliver Perez and Wellemeyer each allowed a run in the first before settling down and putting up zeros through the sixth.

Wellemeyer allowed a run and three hits in six innings, the longest he’s lasted in his six major league starts.

The Cardinals broke through for a run in the seventh after Perez allowed a single and a walk and was relieved by Aaron Heilman. So Taguchi flied out, and Spiezio hit a line drive up the middle that Heilman just managed to get a glove on. The ball deflected to Valentin and he had a chance to make the play, but he fumbled the ball. The single scored Ryan.

Ryan’s RBI single off Heilman in the eighth extended the lead to 3-1.

Spiezio doubled in the first and scored on Encarnacion’s double. In the bottom half, Jose Reyes singled and scored on Carlos Beltran’s double.

Taguchi singled in the ninth to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games. Ryan Ludwick struck out four times and went 1-for-5.

Percival returns: Almost two years after he retired, Troy Percival returned to the big leagues.

The St. Louis Cardinals called up the former All-Star closer on Tuesday, hoping he can help a bullpen that has struggled this season.

The 37-year-old Percival, 12th on the career saves list with 324, left the majors because of persistent soreness in his right shoulder. His final outing was with Detroit on July 9, 2005, when he gave up a game-ending home run to Tampa Bay’s Jonny Gomes.

“It feels like it’s always felt,” Percival said before Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets. “It’s good to be back. It feels like I never skipped a beat.”

Percival signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals on June 8. He appeared in six games for Triple-A Memphis and had a 1.35 ERA in 6 2-3 innings.

Manager Tony La Russa said Percival is ready to go.

“He’s going to be a short-spurt type,” La Russa said. “We won’t stretch him out much unless we’re just trying to get him some work.”

The first 10 years of the right-hander’s career were spent with the Angels, and the hard thrower closed out their World Series championship in 2002. He pitched for Detroit in his final season and served as a scout with the Tigers last year.

The Cardinals have been below .500 for most of the season, a year after winning the World Series. Several members of their starting rotation have been hurt and their bullpen is 11th in the National League with a 4.13 ERA.

To make room for Percival, the Cardinals sent right-handed reliever Andy Cavazos to Triple-A Memphis. Cavazos was 0-0 in seven games, allowing seven runs and 11 hits in 11 innings for a 5.79 ERA.

Percival, who received a $100,000 bonus when he signed his minor league contract, gets a $500,000 base salary with the Cardinals. He can earn up to $1.2 million in performance bonus based on games, getting the full amount if he pitches in 30. He also would get an additional $500,000 if he finishes 30 games.

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