A 6-2 outcome of a baseball game wouldn’t necessarily suggest that a scoreless fifth inning by the losing team was the focal point. But it was Monday night at Busch Stadium as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tried to patch together a bullpen game, in the absence of ace righthander Adam Wainwright, whose start it was to have been before his right elbow balked.
Carlos Martinez, a starter in spring training but a reliever in the regular season, worked four capable innings, allowing just one hit out of the infield but walking four. With the attachment, however, of a pitch limit of 60 (he had 59), Martinez was lifted after the fourth, when he escaped a second-and-third, no-out spot, ahead of the New York Mets 2-1.

Matheny, hoping to bridge an inning or two before his normal bullpen corps came into play, went to lefthanded rookie Nick Greenwood, with four of the next five hitters batting lefthanded.

Greenwood, just purchased from Class AAA Memphis on Sunday, started ominously, and no doubt nervously, by walking the leadoff hitter, Curtis Granderson.

“Obviously I didn’t want to do that,” he said.

But, throwing 86 to 87 miles an hour compared to Martinez’s 97 to 99, he quickly grounded himself as Daniel Murphy just as quickly grounded into a double play. Righthanded-hitting threat David Wright was next, but Greenwood found no difficulty there either, striking out Wright and shifting the momentum pendulum to the Cardinals.

Jon Jay doubled and scored for the third time in the home fifth as Matt Holliday knocked in his 1,000th career run. The inning ballooned on Mets rookie Jacob deGrom as Allen Craig drove in his second run with his third hit, Matt Adams legged out a run-scoring triple and Jhonny Peralta capped a four-run surge with a single.

The Cardinals’ offense, which piled up 12 hits, was the most obvious fulcrum in the lopsided victory, their fourth in a row and seventh in their last eight games. But the win belonged to Greenwood, a 26-year-old East Hartford, Conn., and University of Rhode Island product.

Greenwood, acquired from San Diego in a three-cornered trade in 2010 that sent Ryan Ludwick to the Padres and brought Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, would tack on two more perfect innings — he even got to bat — before he weakened in the eighth.