Cards hope to break out the brooms on the slumping Mets

The rolling St. Louis Cardinals look to compete a rare four-game sweep of the slumping New York Mets Thursday at Busch Stadium.

The NL Central-leading Cardinals have won the first three tests of this series in rather easy fashion and posted a 4-2 win Wednesday with some late-inning production. Daniel Descalso scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning and Yadier Molina added an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth.

Jon Jay and Tony Cruz also drove in runs for the Cardinals, winners in 12 of their last 14 games. St. Louis is 5-1 on a 10-game homestand and 2 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati for the division lead.

Shelby Miller continued his dominance on the hill and delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the no-decision. Seth Maness picked up the win in relief and Edward Mujica nailed down his 11th save in the ninth.

"It was a battle out there for me," Miller said. "The fastball command wasn't nearly as good as it was the last start. I was leaving it up in the zone, which raised my pitch count up through the first three innings. I got away with some mistakes."

After this series with New York, the Cardinals will host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games over the weekend.

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was so pumped from watching Miller mow down the Rockies a few days ago he tried to upstage the young right-hander. Wainwright almost did and will follow Miller once again Thursday.

Miller threw a one-hitter and struck out 13 on May 10 against the Rockies, one day before Wainwright went the distance in a 3-0 win over Colorado. Wainwright was reached for just two runs, struck out seven and walked one for his sixth career shutout and second of the season. His no-hit bid ended in the eighth.

"Once you see Shelby mow through a lineup like he has been all year, you feel like you've got to go out there and do it too," Wainwright said. "Or else the guys will think there's a new sheriff in town."

Wainwright is the sheriff so far in the St. Louis rotation and owns a 5-2 record in eight starts with a 2.30 earned run average. The righty hopes to find some rare success against the Mets, as he sports a 1-3 mark and a 7.90 ERA in six career games (4 starts) in this series.

New York is riding its second six-game slide of the season (April 25-30) and looks to end the misery Thursday.

In last night's loss in the Gateway City, Shaun Marcum was tagged for three runs -- two earned -- on five hits over 6 2/3 innings to absorb the loss.

Rick Ankiel had two hits and drove in both runs for the Mets, while Marcum also collected two hits for a stagnant offense.

"They've got good pitching. Don't let anybody kid you," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They've got real good pitching, and they come out of that bullpen roaring. So they're tough to beat. And when they're swinging like they're swinging, they're real tough to beat."

The Mets will wrap up their road trip with three games against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Mets took four of seven meetings with the Cardinals last season, but haven't been swept in four games in this series since 1979.