Sean Green sat in his clubhouse chair and stared at his locker after the Mets' 12-7 loss to the Cardinals last night. He got up to get an ice pack for his arm, sat back down, and stared at his locker again.

"That's not how I had it planned out," said Green, whose first pitch of the game nicked the Cardinals' Mark DeRosa with two outs in the 10th inning to force in Rick Ankiel from third base and put the Cards ahead 8-7. "I've been erratic with my location and it's cost me the last couple of outings."

Four pitches later, Green gave up a grand slam to Albert Pujols on an 0-and-2 pitch that he powered to left-centerfield. It was Pujols' second home run of the night and 36th of the season.

"I got ahead of him and tried to go with a slider in the dirt. Didn't make the dirt," Green said. "He's one of the better hitters in the game and that's what he does to bad pitches."

Green wasn't alone in the bullpen's implosion. Closer Francisco Rodriguez, who has had only four save chances in his last 10 appearances since July 8, gave up two runs in the ninth, wasting a 7-5 lead that Johan Santana exited with after eight innings.

"I think it hurts more when you're up by two runs in the ninth. It's, you know, embarrassing," Rodriguez said. "I'm just going to try to do the same thing that I'm doing the last 61/2 years; I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing."

Rodriguez said the lack of work wasn't a problem, but Jerry Manuel thought it was.

"I think it had a lot do with it, the inconsistency in save situations for him," the manager said. "This is probably a little different for him, just not getting a lot of save opportunities. I think that definitely had an effect on him, no question."

K-Rod gave up consecutive doubles to begin the inning. After a strikeout, Skip Schumaker's single to right tied the game. The inning ended when Rodriguez got Ryan Ludwick to pop up in shallow rightfield with the bases loaded.

After the Mets stranded two in the bottom of the ninth, Brian Stokes got Yadier Molina to ground out to start the 10th. Playing a lefty-righty matchup, manager Jerry Manuel went to losing pitcher Pedro Feliciano, who loaded the bases and got the second out before Green came in.

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Manuel called Green's hitting DeRosa "concerning because it's happened a couple times with him."