ST. LOUIS (AP) - Mike Pelfrey found the thinnest of silver linings.
His ground-rule double in the fifth inning tacked on a run to the Mets lead, before they gave it all back and then some in an 11-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
``I told the umpire that it was gone,' Pelfrey said. ``Then he told me, ``No, it bounced over.'
Pelfrey's 1-for-3 night raised his average to .109.
``That was the only thing I was proud of today,' said Pelfrey, who gave up 10 hits and five earned runs in six innings.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot hit a go-ahead double in the seventh and St. Louis rookie Adron Chambers later drove in three runs with a pinch-hit triple.
``It's tough, we've been watching it all year long,' New York manager Terry Collins said of the late-game collapse. ``We've got to find a way to shut it down.'
The Mets tied a season high by walking nine times. One of those was by Angel Pagan in the top of the 7th, and gave New York a 5-4 lead.
New York has lost 10 of its last 13 games and tied a season-low at eight games under. 500.
New York shortstop Jose Reyes had one hit in four at_bats. He is hitting .330 in an attempt to become the first Mets hitter to win a batting title. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who went 1 for 5 on Tuesday, tops the NL at .332.
The Cardinals' 11th win in 13 games kept them 2 1/2 behind Atlanta in the wild card chase.
St. Louis scored six times in the seventh to dig out of an early 4-0 hole after the Braves beat Florida 4-0.
``Theriot was the one that had the big hit of the night,' St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols said. ``Coming off the bench with the bases loaded and driving that ball. We took the lead right there.'
Pujols went 4 for 5 to push his batting average to a season-high .304. It was the 36th four-hit game of his career and seventh of the season. The three-time NL MVP is happy to be in the middle of the playoff chase.
``The Braves can lose the rest of the games that they got left and if we don't take care of business, they're still going to win the wild card,' Pujols said. ``All we can do is go nine innings hard and hopefully get a ``W,' at the end of the day.'
Theriot hit a pitch from Tim Byrdak into the gap in left-center to bring in Pujols and Lance Berkman, who both singled against Josh Stinson (0-2).
All six runs in the seventh came with two out.
``It was a beautiful sight to behold,' La Russa said. ``Once things start rolling, sometimes it's tough to put a cork on it. Those were some huge at bats from Ryan and Adron.'
Octavio Dotel (4-3) came on and struck out David Wright to end the top of the seventh.
Berkman had two hits for St. Louis including a two-run single in the fifth that tied the game at 4.
The Mets scored three times in the third inning on a groundout by Wright, a fielder's choice by Willie Harris, and an RBI single by Josh Thole. Lucas Duda hit an RBI double in the first.
Rafael Furcal and David Freese hit RBI doubles in the bottom half around a groundout by Pujols that scored a run, to cut the Mets' lead to 4-3.
The Mets stranded 13 runners.
NOTES: St. Louis INF Skip Schumaker is in an 0 for 15 slump. ... Duda is hitting .322 (66-205) since the All-Star break. ... St. Louis has won six of its last seven series. ... Cardinals OF Matt Holliday missed the last six games with an inflamed tendon on the middle finger of his right hand. He is hoping to play this weekend against Chicago.
The Associated Press News Service
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