ST. LOUIS -- Stephen Piscotty stood in front of his locker and explained the Wednesday night game simply.
"He might have left a few more pitches in the middle of the plate than usual," the St. Louis Cardinals right fielder said of New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom, "and we took advantage."
Especially Piscotty, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs as St. Louis tied a season high with 19 hits in an 8-1 rout at Busch Stadium.
Every Cardinal collected a hit before the fifth inning was over as deGrom (7-7) absorbed his second straight pounding in what was supposed to be a classic pitchers' duel against Carlos Martinez. In 4 2/3 innings, deGrom was touched for 12 hits and five runs. He walked two and fanned three.
That came on the heels of allowing a career-worst 13 hits and eight runs on Aug. 18 in a 10-7 loss at San Francisco.
"It's hard to get results when you throw everything right down the middle," deGrom said. "I'm missing down the middle, and these are big league hitters, and that's what they do."
While deGrom didn't miss many bats, Martinez (12-7) didn't allow much in the way of hard contact. He gave up only four hits and a run in eight innings, walking three and fanning five while inducing two more double-play balls to up his National League-leading total to 27.
As he has done more frequently this year, Martinez sacrificed velocity for command and movement, saving his 98 mph fastballs for key pitches and fetching 13 outs via grounders.
"It's not less is better," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez's increasingly refined approach. "He understands it's about location and movement. He's more able to throw anything at any time."
Working quickly in the 90-degree heat, Martinez finished every inning but the fifth in 13 pitches or fewer, getting his teammates off the field and to the bat rack.
"We're not getting worn out on the field with him out there," Piscotty said. "I guess you have to thank him for our outburst."
Matt Carpenter, the only Cardinal without multiple hits, made his one hit count, belting his 16th homer of the year to start the bottom of the first. It was the 12th leadoff homer in Carpenter's career.
New York (63-63) tied it in the second on an RBI double by Asdrubal Cabrera, but Piscotty's two-out infield single in the third plated Jedd Gyorko to give St. Louis the lead for good. Then the Cardinals started playing long ball again.
The NL home run leaders got a 424-foot, opposite-field blast from Randal Grichuk in the fourth, his fifth in 40 at-bats since being recalled Aug. 11 from Triple-A Memphis, and a two-run shot from Piscotty in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.
Since returning from his second stint in the minors this year, Grichuk has 13 hits, 12 for extra bases.
"There's been a lot of lessons he's had to learn this year," Matheny said of Grichuk. "He's always had it; it's just trying to figure out how to reach some guys. He's worked hard, and he has the talent and want-to."
St. Louis kept piling on, scoring twice in the seventh on Jhonny Peralta's triple off the right field wall and a two-out RBI single from Greg Garcia. Yadier Molina capped the onslaught with his third hit, an RBI single in the eighth that gave him six hits in the series' first two games.
The result enabled the Cardinals (67-58) to stay 1 1/2 games ahead of the Miami Marlins for the NL's second wild-card spot and move within a game of San Francisco for the first wild-card slot, pending the outcome of the Giants' game at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mets dropped 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
NOTES: St. Louis RHP Lance Lynn made his third rehab start Wednesday night at Springfield and threw 48 pitches in three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and fanning three. Lynn underwent Tommy John surgery in November. ... New York placed LHP Jonathon Niese (left knee) on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and recalled RHP Erik Goeddel from Triple-A Las Vegas. Goeddel gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings Wednesday night, then was optioned back to Las Vegas. The Mets will add LHP Sean Gilmartin from Triple-A on Thursday. ... Cardinals RHP Trevor Rosenthal (right shoulder inflammation) started a throwing program Tuesday and will throw off flat ground for two weeks before further evaluation.
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