A night after the Cardinals got a pinch hit home run to take the lead over the Mets, New York returned the favor. Mark Johnson’s game winning pinch hit dinger in the eighth inning broke a 6-6 tie. Dave Veres served it up and got the loss. But it shouldn’t have mattered. The Cardinals were up 5-1 before rookie pitcher Josh Pearce allowed all five of the batters he faced in the fifth inning to reach base. The Mets rallied for five runs to take a 6-5 lead. Fernando Vina tied it in the sixth with an RBI bunt to score Miguel Cairo, but Johnson’s homer made it a moot point. The Birds will start Travis Smith tonight as the Cards travel to Montreal. Smith is the ninth starter the Cards have used……The news has gotten worse for St. Louis’ pitching staff. Bud Smith has been put on the DL with a strained shoulder. He joins Woody Williams, Rick Ankiel, and Garret Stepenson. Andy Benes is also on the DL but his retirement/no longer playing for the Cardinals situation continues. Gene Stechshulte was called up from Triple-A. He’ll start Saturday.