ST. LOUIS (AP) — Facing trouble, Michael Wacha did his best to slow down the game. He certainly frustrated New York Mets hitters who had him on the ropes.
Wacha escaped a pair of jams with strikeouts, and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a fifth-inning tie en route to a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
"I hadn't been doing that in my last three starts," Wacha said. "It was nice to be able to start making pitches and being able to execute."
Daniel Murphy couldn't deal with the changeup when he struck out with runners on second and third to end the fifth inning.
"I don't think I swung at a single strike the at-bat I struck out," Murphy said. "He threw the ball well to me, and I helped him out."
Murphy wasn't alone.
"I don't think there are too many right-handers with a better changeup," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think that's accepted league-wide."
Yadier Molina hit his first homer since May 24 for the Cardinals, who have won eight of nine and will go for a three-game sweep on Wednesday. They have won a season-best five in a row and are a season-best seven games above .500.
David Wright hit his first homer since May 28, and Lucas Duda also connected for the Mets, who have lost 11 of 14.
"There's many sleepless nights," Wright said. "I won't lie and say it's easy or it doesn't bother me, but you have to understand there's not too many players, if any, that can go through a whole season and ride that roller-coaster ride a little bit."
Mets manager Terry Collins batted the pitcher eighth, with Eric Young Jr. hitting ninth, for the second straight game in an effort to stimulate the offense. During the 14-game slump, the Mets have scored two or fewer runs seven times.
Daisuke Matsuzaka worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Mets starter Jonathon Niese (3-4). Matsuzaka left Sunday's start against San Diego after one inning because of a severe upset stomach.