Allen Craig's two-run bomb off Jon Rauch broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals hung on to beat the Mets 5-4 at Citi Field on Monday afternoon to avoid a four-game sweep.

The Mets trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh before pinch hitter Scott Hairston tied the game with a two-run shot of his own.

The loss drops New York 1/2 game behind the Nationals and Marlins for first in the N.L. East.

Rauch dropped to 3-5 with the loss, after Dillion Gee was taken off the hook by Hairston's blast. Dee allowed two earned runs over seven innings before Hairston hit for him in the seventh.

Craig also drove in the game's first run of the game with an RBi single in the fourth before Lucas Duda tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with his ninth homer.

Marc Rzepczynski (1-3) who allowed Haiston's homer was charged with a blown save, but earned the win.

Jason Motte entered the game in the eighth with two outs and got David Wright to line out third to strand the tying run and third before working a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

The Mets (31-24) open a series in Washinton on Tuesday night.