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Matt Carpenter had a hunch a fastball was coming. When the pitch arrived [url=http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.com/cheap-brian-o_neill-jersey]Brian O'Neill Color Rush Jersey[/url] , he delivered.

Carpenter hit a tiebreaking solo homer with two out in the ninth, helping the St. Louis Cardinals edge the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 on Tuesday night.

Carpenter also had a tying two-run double in St. Louis’ four-run seventh. Tommy Pham homered and singled for the Cardinals, and Kolten Wong also went deep.

Odubel Herrera and Carlos Santana connected for the Phillies.

Seranthony Dominguez (1-1) struck out the first two batters in the ninth and had Carpenter in a 0-2 hole. But Carpenter lined the next pitch, a 98-mph fastball, over the wall in right to extend his homer streak to three games.

Carpenter noticed Dominguez shake off catcher Jorge Alfaro just before the 0-2 pitch and believed the right-hander wanted to throw a fastball.

”I wouldn’t say I sold out for it, but I was ready for it,” he said.

A hard-throwing rookie, Dominguez began his career by tossing 15 2/3 scoreless innings and entered with 27 strikeouts and a 1.27 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.

”You have to step in the box ready to go,” Carpenter said.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Dominguez’s pace actually helped Carpenter.

”You’ve got a guy with that live of an arm, you just need to get the barrel to it,” Matheny said. ”It was a nice swing path.”

The Cardinals trailed 4-2 before rallying against Vince Velasquez and Tommy Hunter.

Velasquez got the first out of the seventh before a single and hit batsman brought manager Gabe Kapler to the mound. Hunter got pinch-hitter Greg Garcia to line out to left before Carpenter doubled, Pham singled and Jose Martinez made it 6-4 with another two-run double.

The Phillies tied it in the eighth on Rhys Hoskins‘ two-run double. Austin Gomber started the inning, but was lifted for Jordan Hicks (3-1) with two out and runners on first and second. Three of Hicks’ four pitches to Hoskins were fastballs that registered at least 100 mph, but the slugger drove the final 101-mph heater into the gap in right-center.

Hicks pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, to secure the victory.

”Frustrating game to lose, obviously,” Kapler said.

The Phillies opened the scoring with Santana’s RBI groundout in the first. Pham extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games with a two-out homer to deep left in the third, tying it at 1.

Herrera continued his hot hitting against St. Louis by driving the first pitch he saw in the third, a 79-mph curveball, into the seats in right for a 2-1 Phillies lead.

Cesar Hernandez’s bases-loaded walk in the fourth made it 3-1, but Philadelphia wasted a chance for more when Luke Weaver got Hoskins to pop out to shortstop before fanning Herrera to leave the bases full.

BAD BREAK

The Phillies also lost infielder J.P. Crawford for four to six weeks when he was hit by a Weaver pitch in the fourth, fracturing his left hand.

”It’s really tough,” Kapler said. ”I feel for him the man. I feel for him the player.”

ROAD RAKING

Carpenter has hits in 12 straight road games and is batting .412 with six homers and 11 RBIs over that streak.

FOR STARTERS

The Cardinals’ rally took Weaver off the hook. Weaver was in line for his fifth straight loss when he left after permitting four runs and six hits in five innings.

Velasquez was charged with four runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

CRAZY ABOUT CARDS

Herrera is batting .360 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 25 career games against the Cardinals.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Matt Bowman (blister right hand) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and replaced by RHP Greg Holland. Holland pitched a perfect seventh with a pair of strikeouts.

Phillies: OF Nick Williams suffered a broken nose in the field on Monday night, and Kapler said after Tuesday’s game that Williams would go through concussion protocol on Wednesday before getting clearance to play.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (8-2, 3.24 ERA) will oppose Phillies RHP Jake Arrieta (5-5 [url=http://www.authenticspittsburghsteelers.com/cheap-james-washington-jersey]James Washington Color Rush Jersey[/url] , 3.33 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. Wacha had his career-best eight-game winning streak snapped in a 13-5 loss to the Cubs in his last start. Arrieta will try to help the Phillies win their first series over St. Louis since August 24, 2014.

Late last month, when the New York Mets were on the road, a display case at Citi Field went up in flames.

Just like their 2018 season.

Nobody got hurt in the fire, which was extinguished by an automatic sprinkler system, and damage was minimal, according to the team.

If only it were that simple to fix the product on the field.

With the Mets sinking fast toward the bottom of the National League standings, baseball operations were turned over Tuesday to a trio of Sandy Alderson’s assistants as the 70-year-old general manager made the stunning announcement that he was stepping down because his cancer has returned.

John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya have decades of front office experience between them, both in New York and elsewhere around the majors. But it might take all three to clean up this mess, and time is of the essence.

”We’re well below our expectations, from ownership on down,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. ”Talk to the baseball department, talk to the scouting department, talk to the development department, coaches, the players – nobody expected to be in this position.”

Alderson’s indefinite leave of absence comes at a critical juncture for the languishing Mets (32-46) ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

Needing to accrue young talent, they’ll probably try to sell off pending free agents such as shaky closer Jeurys Familia and switch-hitting second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera for whatever they can get.

But ace pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could fetch an enormous return, and the club must decide whether to undertake such a sweeping overhaul at this stage – without a general manager in place.

”We’re going to talk about that. We just kind of got into this,” Ricco told reporters Wednesday. ”For me, everything has to be on the table. But you’ve got to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.”

Even with last season’s 70-92 finish in mind, Ricco didn’t sound as though a total tear-down was likely. At least not yet.

So how do the aging Mets, not even two years removed from consecutive playoff appearances, re-energize their injury-prone team and turn it around?

The offense is stagnant. The defense is deplorable at times. The bullpen has been horrendous since New York’s 12-2 start and requires a complete rebuild next year.

Due in large part to leg injuries and a hip problem that Alderson called ”somewhat chronic,” slugger Yoenis Cespedes has played in less than half of the Mets’ games since signing a $110 million [url=http://www.authenticscarolinapanthers.com/cheap-ian-thomas-jersey]Ian Thomas Color Rush Jersey[/url] , four-year contract in November 2016. He has a no-trade clause and almost certainly isn’t going anywhere. New York needs to figure out how to get him back in the lineup.

Banged-up right fielder Jay Bruce, also in his 30s and sidelined by a hip injury, is batting .212 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and a paltry .613 OPS in the first season of a $39 million, three-year deal.

Touted prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith have flopped at the plate so far.

”That’s what we’ve been charged with: improving this club,” Ricco said. ”Obviously, the trade deadline is coming up and that’s a big pressure point in which to better your club, and certainly we are going to take advantage of that and look to be active.”

Syndergaard, like several Mets stars, is on the disabled list again with a strained ligament in his index finger but could be back next month. The 25-year-old right-hander can’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

As for deGrom, he just turned 30 and leads the majors with a 1.69 ERA going into Friday night’s scheduled start at last-place Miami. Still a salary bargain relative to his brilliant performance, deGrom is under club control through the 2020 season.

Both pitchers were instrumental in leading New York to the 2015 World Series.

”We know what we have in those two,” Alderson said last week. ”At the same time, you never say never.”

In the end, maybe the Mets will choose instead to shop mid-rotation starters Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Both are fully healthy for the first time in years, and their stuff looks crisp.

Of course, New York could simply wait until the winter to settle on a strategy – perhaps after a new GM has been hired.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, it appears the team plans to conduct a search that includes external candidates at the end of the season.

That also might affect the status of first-year manager Mickey Callaway, hired by Alderson last fall.

So many questions. No easy answers.

Alderson said his prognosis is good but he doesn’t expect to be back on the job at any point, partly because his health is uncertain but also because he’s not sure it would be ”warranted.”

Whoever winds up in charge, if they keep deGrom and Syndergaard, the Mets maintain at least the foundation of a potentially competitive squad for the next two years, provided Cespedes and some other key pieces finally manage to stay healthy.

But the team might also be bypassing an opportunity to trade deGrom at peak value, running the risk that he or Syndergaard will get seriously injured before those chips are cashed.

And then there’s this tricky little complication: One of the October contenders in hot pursuit of top-notch starting pitching is the New York Yankees.

With a stocked farm system, they could be a perfect trade partner for the Mets – a buzzy topic that’s generated plenty of fodder for sports-talk radio in New York.