NEW YORK — Fernando Nieve pitched six scoreless innings to extend his improbable stint with the New York Mets and recent callup Nick Evans hit a two-run homer in an 11-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
David Wright tied a career best with four hits and Ryan Church had three hits and two RBIs in his first start as the cleanup hitter this season.
The injury-depleted Mets bounced back from a 4-0, two-hit loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday with their best offensive output of the season. Evans had two of the Mets' 16 hits.
Nieve (3-0) won his career-high third straight start filling in for John Maine.
Facing the NL Central leaders, Nieve allowed three hits, walked four and struck out five.
Nieve pitched two scoreless innings of relief after being called up from the minors on June 5, the day setup man J.J. Putz went on the disabled list, then moved into the rotation. The former Astros minor leaguer improved to 6-4 in the majors during a professional career that began in 1999.
After walking the leadoff batter in the first, Nieve kept the Cardinals off balance, striking out three in the first three innings.
But he needed 39 pitches to get out of the third, when he loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. He needed only seven pitches to get through the sixth inning.
Church gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single. Fernando Tatis, playing his third straight game for Gary Sheffield, who had a cortisone shot behind his knee Wednesday, ended that rally by hitting into his fourth double play of the series, but he drove in a run in the fourth with a groundout to make it 2-0.
An out later Evans, recalled from Double-A Binghamton on Friday, hit the first pitch from Brad Thompson several rows deep in left field for a 4-0 lead.
Once Cardinals manager Tony La Russa removed Thompson (2-3) after he gave up a leadoff single to Wright in the sixth, the Mets feasted on sloppy play and a poor bullpen to score seven runs over the next two innings.
Filling in for Kyle Lohse, Thompson fell to 2-2 as a starter this season. He gave up five runs and eight hits.
Brian Schneider had a two-run double to highlight a three-run sixth, and Church doubled in his second run and Tatis drove in his third run with an RBI single in the four-run seventh.
NOTES: The Cardinals fell to 5-17 when Albert Pujols goes hitless. He was 0 for 2 with two walks. ... Several Mets, watching on flat screen TVs in the clubhouse, gave a loud cheer when Clint Dempsey scored in the U.S. soccer team's 2-0 victory over Spain in the semifinals of Confederations Cup. ... Church last batted cleanup July 3, at St. Louis. ... Mets LHP Oliver Perez (knee) and RHP Maine (shoulder weakness) threw in the bullpen before. Manager Jerry Manuel said they would both need at least one more start in the minors before being activated. ... The Mets scored 10 runs in a win over Pittsburgh on May 9.