New York Mets: Jon Jay

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 5, Mets 2

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
ST. LOUIS -- How low will they go?

The Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Tuesday at Busch Stadium to drop a season-worst nine games under .500.

Jonathon Niese allowed three earned runs or fewer for the 18th consecutive start, the longest active streak in the majors, and David Wright homered, but finding silver linings these days requires a high-powered pair of orange-and-blue-colored glasses.

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressJon Niese was charged with five runs (three earned) in six innings Tuesday at Busch Stadium.

The Mets have lost 11 of their past 14 and now have sole possession of last place in the NL East.

Tuesday’s ugliness included a comedy of errors -- charged and mental -- in the bottom of the sixth.

Already trailing 3-1, Niese was poised to strand a runner in scoring position. However, second baseman Daniel Murphy dropped Daniel Descalso’s soft liner. Murphy had enough time to recover and retire Descalso at first base, but Lucas Duda -- presuming Murphy would catch the ball in the air -- was too late covering first base.

Pinch hitter Kolten Wong followed with an RBI single against Niese (3-4).

The ugliness continued.

With runners on the corners, Wong attempted to steal second. Murphy received the throw and appeared to have Wong out. Instead, Murphy -- concerned Descalso would race home on a double steal -- never attempted the tag of Wong and focused on the baserunner at third.

Even catcher Anthony Recker threw up his arms in disbelief.

The inning further prolonged and with two now in scoring position, Peter Bourjos had a run-scoring infield single as the Cardinals took a 5-1 lead.

Niese departed after the inning. His line: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Yadier Molina produced a solo homer in the second inning against Niese to open the scoring. It was Molina’s first long ball against the Mets since Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.

In the fifth, Jon Jay had a tiebreaking, two-out RBI triple and Matt Holliday followed with a run-scoring double as St. Louis opened a 3-1 lead.

Deep thoughts: Wright, who had been 3-for-his-last-44, produced a fourth-inning homer against Michael Wacha to even the score at 1. It was Wright’s first road long ball this season. His four previous homers had come at Citi Field.

Wright followed with a double in his next at-bat and finished 2-for-4.

Wasted chances: With the score tied at 1 in the fifth, Murphy struck out against Wacha to strand two baserunners in scoring position. An inning later, trailing 3-1, the Mets again stranded a pair when Ruben Tejada struck out with runners on the corners.

Welcome back: Two days after he was forced to leave a start at Citi Field after one inning because of extreme stomach discomfort, Daisuke Matsuzaka handled the seventh inning at Busch Stadium. He allowed a leadoff double to Holliday and issued a wild pitch, but kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the frame. Matsuzaka remains on track to make his start Friday at Miami.

What’s next: Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15 ERA) opposes right-hander Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16) in Wednesday’s 1:45 p.m. ET series finale as the Mets look to avoid getting swept. The Mets are 13-30 in St. Louis since 2001.

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16

Getty ImagesThe Mets are scheduled to face Cardinals right-handers Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn at Busch Stadium.
METS (31-38, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (37-32, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-3, 3.44) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.67), 8:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.54) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (6-5, 4.15) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (7-4, 3.16), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Adam Wainwright, originally scheduled to start Monday, will have his turn skipped because of tendinitis in the back of his pitching elbow. Carlos Martinez, whose fastball has averaged 97.1 mph out of the bullpen this season, will make his second career major league start in Wainwright’s place. St. Louis opted to use the 22-year-old Martinez rather than move up the other pitchers and have Michael Wacha pitch in the series opener on standard rest.

• The Cardinals promoted left-handed reliever Nick Greenwood from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday and demoted outfielder Randal Grichuk (.136). St. Louis is now carrying 13 pitchers and a four-man bench with Wainwright active but skipping a start. Greenwood could relieve Martinez in the middle innings, since Martinez likely will be capped between 50 and 60 pitches with his shift from a bullpen role.

Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesMatt Adams has homered in each of his first three games since returning from the disabled list.

• St. Louis pitchers tossed 30 straight scoreless innings and three straight shutouts last week, at Toronto and Tampa Bay. The Cardinals have blanked their opponents 14 times this season. The Texas Rangers rank second with 13 shutouts, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays with nine. The Mets have blanked their opponents five times.

• First baseman Matt Adams has returned from the disabled list with a bang after missing 13 games due to a calf injury. Adams has homered in each of his first three games upon reentering the lineup. The good news: All three weekend long balls came with his father, Jamie, in attendance at Busch Stadium. The elder Adams has now headed home. The first two homers provided the winning margin en route to a weekend sweep against the Washington Nationals.

• Rookie right fielder Oscar Taveras, who had hit only .189 with one homer in 37 at-bats, was demoted to clear the roster spot for Adams. Allen Craig, who had manned first base in Adams’ absence, has returned to right field. Taveras is ranked as the top prospect in the organization.

Matt Holliday is one RBI shy of 1,000 for his career. He has reached base safely in each of the first 31 Cardinals home games this season.

• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53 million deal with St. Louis, is hitting .232 with a team-leading 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 241 at-bats.

• St. Louis is 18-2 against the National League East at Busch Stadium over the past two seasons. The Cardinals have outscored those opponents 89-43 during that span.

Yadier Molina leads NL All-Star balloting at catcher with 2,003,557 votes. San Francisco’s Buster Posey ranks second at 1,414,363.

• Center fielder Peter Bourjos is 0-for-his-last-10 and is now hitting .209. The righty-hitting Bourjos shares playing time with lefty-hitting Jon Jay. Bourjos was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in November with Grichuk for David Freese and Fernando Salas.

• Second baseman Kolten Wong was the NL Rookie of the Month for May, but is 1-for-his-last-18.

• Jay is 11-for-26 against left-handed pitching this season.

• Third baseman Matt Carpenter is the only Cardinal to appear in all 69 games.

Rapid Reaction: Cards 3, Mets 0

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
NEW YORK -- Adam Wainwright delivered again in Queens as Mets bats remained quiet.

Wainwright tossed seven scoreless innings thanks to Matt Holliday reaching over the wall to take away a homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Mets, 3-0, Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Wainwright did depart after only 79 pitches with a hyperextended right knee. He landed awkwardly after leaping while unsuccessfully attempting to field Chris Young's chopper on the right side. First baseman Matt Adams made the play to complete the seventh and Wainwright gingerly walked off the field.

Wainwright was coming off a two-hit shutout of the Washington Nationals in his previous outing.

The Mets (10-10) slipped back to .500 with the defeat.

Gee fizz: Dillon Gee pitched fine, but not well enough to match Wainwright.

Gee surrendered a two-run single to Jon Jay in the fourth that broke a scoreless tie, but it could have been worse. With the bases loaded and none out later that frame, Gee coaxed consecutive forceouts at the plate on grounders by Kolten Wong and Wainwright. Gee followed by striking out Matt Carpenter to hold the deficit at 2-0.

Mets pitchers nonetheless had their scoreless streak snapped at a season-high 20 innings.

Gee was coming off a near-flawless, 72-pitch effort against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he tossed seven scoreless innings.

Gee’s final line against the Cards: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. He threw 95 pitches (61 strikes).

Jose Valverde surrendered a ninth-inning run as the Cards opened a three-run lead.

Robbed: Holliday leaped at the left-field wall to take away a potential two-run homer from Chris Young in the fifth that would have evened the score at 2.

Bay watch: Curtis Granderson went 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout. He is now hitless in 22 straight at-bats. That is a new career high, topping an 0-for-21 skid with the Detroit Tigers in 2006.

Snapped: David Wright lost a 12-game hitting streak with an 0-for-4 night that included striking out for the second out of the ninth with two runners on base

Debutant: Bobby Abreu made his debut as a pinch hitter leading off the bottom of the ninth. He flied out to left field. Terry Collins indicated Abreu is expected to start Thursday for the first time with the club.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (0-2, 2.84 ERA) opposes right-hander Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 2, Cards 0

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia ran his career-high scoreless streak to 13 2/3 innings and David Wright extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a broken-bat RBI single as the New York Mets beat the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Monday night at Citi Field.

Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia thanks Ruben Tejada after the shortstop's diving stop initiated a double play in the fifth.

Newly installed closer Kyle Farnsworth tossed a scoreless ninth inning to notch his first save since Sept. 29 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The camouflage-wearing Mets again moved over .500, improving their record to 10-9.

Mejia’s line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. He departed after consecutive two-out walks in the seventh. Scott Rice entered and induced a ground out to third base from righty-hitting pinch-hitter Shane Robinson.

After being forced from his previous outing in Phoenix after five innings because of a torn blister on his right middle finger, Mejia this time logged 94 pitches with no apparent ill effects.

Mejia personally escaped his most serious threat in the sixth. After consecutive one-out singles by Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig placed runners on the corners, Mejia retired Matt Holliday on a pop out to second base and Matt Adams on a ground out to Daniel Murphy.

In the fourth and fifth innings, Mejia had benefited from highlight-reel plays from shortstop Ruben Tejada, both on diving stops up the middle. In the latter instance, Tejada initiated a double play on a grounder by Jon Jay.

Mejia now has 25 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.

Kathy Willens/Associated PressDavid Wright delivers a broken-bat RBI single in the third to get the Mets on the scoreboard.

Oh, Captain: Things are breaking right for Wright these days. Wright delivered a two-out, broken-bat single through the left side of the infield in the third inning to plate Eric Young Jr. with the game’s opening run.

The Mets extended the lead to 2-0 in the sixth on Travis d’Arnaud’s RBI single. That came in an inning in which the Mets benefited from Cards starter Tyler Lyons walking two batters and also committing an error. (Chris Young was thrown out trying to advance to third base on a pitch in the dirt earlier in the inning, limiting the damage.)

Bay watch: Curtis Granderson went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a hit by pitch. He is now hitless in 19 straight at-bats.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71 ERA) opposes Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Wainwright is coming off a two-hit shutout against the Washington Nationals.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cards

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressTyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to face the Mets on Monday at Citi Field.
METS (9-9, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (11-8, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (2-0, 3.32 at Triple-A), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Left-hander Tyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to start Monday’s game against the Mets. Lyons, 26, replaces Joe Kelly, who landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, which he injured running to first base after hitting a groundball.

Kelly’s absence likely will be short term. Otherwise, the Cards would have considered using 22-year-old flamethrower Carlos Martinez, who currently is excelling in late-inning relief -- including contributing multi-inning performances.

Lyons went 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances (eight starts) for St. Louis last season as a rookie. Right-hander Jorge Rondon will be demoted to clear the roster spot for Lyons.

David Goldman/Associated PressJhonny Peralta is off to a slow start at the plate after signing a $53 million deal with St. Louis.

• St. Louis struck quickly in free agency, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for four years, $53 million on Nov. 24 despite Peralta returning from a Biogenesis-related suspension. After going 0-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitless streak to 12 at-bats, Peralta’s average has sagged to .172. He has displayed some power, having produced four homers.

• The Cards have an entirely new look to their infield. Last year, it primarily was Allen Craig at first base, Matt Carpenter at second, Pete Kozma at shortstop and David Freese at third. Now, Matt Adams handles first base (with Craig in right field), Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis share second, Peralta is at shortstop and Carpenter is locked into third.

Carpenter, a 2013 All-Star, shifted with the trade of Freese to the Los Angeles Angels. Freese was sent to Anaheim with Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

Adams lifted his average to .357 Sunday with a 2-for-4 game against the Washington Nationals.

The lefty-hitting Wong and righty-hitting Ellis are not in a strict platoon. For instance, Ellis started against the right-handed Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. Ellis had opened the season on the DL with left knee tendinitis. Ellis, who made his Cards debut last Tuesday, was signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal in December after playing the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lance Lynn has the best March/April record in MLB history among pitchers with at least 10 starts. He is 11-0 in 12 starts, topping Babe Ruth’s previous-best .929 winning percentage (13-1 in 16 starts). The last unbeaten March/April pitcher was Ray Fisher, who was 9-0 from 1910 through 1920.

• Catcher Yadier Molina has an 11-game hitting streak. He has won six straight Gold Gloves behind the plate.

• The lefty-hitting Jon Jay and righty-hitting Bourjos share time in center field.

Adam Wainwright, who logged 241 2/3 innings in 2013, retired 18 in a row at one point while tossing a two-hit shutout against the Nats in his last outing. It was Wainwright’s 17th career complete game, which is seventh-most in the majors since 2007.

• Although his arsenal appeared just fine in 2013, right-hander Michael Wacha is trying to incorporate a cutter this season and become a three-pitch pitcher. He also is more frequently flipping a curveball.

• Ex-Yankee Randy Choate has been solid in lefty relief while producing a 1.59 ERA. He has not surrendered a homer since Aug. 1, 2012.

• The Cardinals planned to take a three-car Amtrak train from Washington to New York on Sunday night.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 2, Mets 1

June, 13, 2013

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey no longer is unbeaten. Blame the bats, per usual.

After enduring a nine-game stretch during which he had eight no-decisions, Harvey on Thursday afternoon was tagged with his first loss since Sept. 12. He limited a vaunted St. Louis Cardinals lineup to one run on five hits and a walk in seven innings, but the Mets lost 2-1 in the rubber game.

Marlon Byrd accounted for the Mets' lone run with a one-out solo homer in the ninth against Edward Mujica. John Buck followed with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Collin Cowgill. But Cowgill was stranded at third base when Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded out on a solid backhand play at second base and pinch hitter Josh Satin struck out.

David Wright had a three-hit game, including two of the Mets’ four hits against Adam Wainwright, who tossed seven scoreless innings.

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsMatt Harvey surrendered his first 2013 loss despite allowing only one run in seven innings.
Harvey’s first 2013 loss came in his 14th start -- a franchise record to begin a season.

In his last loss, which came in his second-to-last start of 2012, Harvey also was a victim of offensive neglect. He had limited the Washington Nationals to one run and five hits while striking out 10 in five innings of a 2-0 loss.

On Thursday, Matt Carpenter’s two-out triple in the third -- beyond the reach of a diving Marlon Byrd in right-center -- plated Pete Kozma with the game’s opening run.

Trailing 1-0, the Mets threatened in the fourth. Wright singled with two outs and advanced to second base when Wainwright walked Daniel Murphy. Lucas Duda sent a shot to right-center, but center fielder Jon Jay settled under it at the base of the wall for the inning’s final out.

The Mets again placed two runners on base in the seventh while trailing by a run, but Justin Turner -- pinch hitting for Harvey -- grounded out on Wainwright’s 95th and final pitch.

Harvey had been struck, seemingly on the left foot, by a line drive off the bat of Yadier Molina in the second inning. Terry Collins and assistant trainer Brian Chicklo briefly visited the mound, but Harvey’s performance clearly was not affected.

Kitty company: LaTroy Hawkins made his 898th career appearance, tying Jim Kaat for 25th all time. Hawkins surrendered a pair of eighth-inning singles -- the latter to Allen Craig, which plated a run charged to Scott Rice as St. Louis took a 2-0 lead.

What’s next: After the upcoming deluge, the Mets will welcome the Chicago Cubs to Citi Field for the weekend.

Shaun Marcum (0-7, 4.96 ERA), who remains winless in his Mets career, opposes right-hander Edwin Jackson (2-8, 5.76) in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. opener. Marcum is coming off a 105-pitch relief appearance in which he tossed eight innings and suffered a hard-luck loss. Only Bob Miller, who was 0-12 to begin the 1962 season, opened his Mets career with more consecutive losing decisions.

Harvey’s next start comes Tuesday, likely in the day game of a split doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Zack Wheeler, who pitches tonight for Triple-A Las Vegas, gets the other game of that doubleheader in his major league debut.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 9, Mets 2

June, 11, 2013
NEW YORK -- Roster changed. Same stinkin' result.

In the first game since a shuffle that included Ike Davis' demotion, newly installed first baseman Daniel Murphy's error opened the doors for five unearned runs in the fifth inning and the Mets lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-2 on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

The Mets (23-36) dropped to a season-worst 13 games under .500. That is their largest hole this early in a season since they were 20 games under .500 on June 11, 1993, en route to a 103-loss season.

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsKirk Nieuwenhuis misplayed Yadier Molina's seventh-inning fly ball into a two-base error.

Murphy, who had borrowed a first baseman’s glove from Justin Turner pregame, tried to field Jon Jay's grounder on the backhand to begin the fifth inning. The ball kicked off the glove, and Murphy’s ensuing flip after regaining it errantly sailed over Jeremy Hefner's head as the pitcher covered first base.

By the time the five-run inning had ended, opposing pitcher Michael Wacha had an RBI groundout. David Wright was unable to cleanly field Yadier Molina’s grounder, which meant Wright had to settle for a run-scoring groundout at first base rather than a potential inning-ending double play. And Allen Craig belted a three-run homer to give National League Central-leading St. Louis a 6-2 lead.

It has not been a good showing this year for Mets with borrowed gloves against St. Louis. On May 13 at Busch Stadium, now-departed Rick Ankiel had a critical drop in center field in his Mets debut while using Jonathon Niese's glove because Ankiel's had yet to arrive from Houston.

The Mets actually allowed seven straight unearned runs Tuesday.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who replaced Ankiel on the roster last weekend, dropped Molina’s fly ball in right field for a two-base error in the seventh. Matt Holliday followed with an RBI single against reliever Greg Burke. Josh Edgin ultimately inherited the bases loaded with two outs from Burke in the southpaw’s big league return and proceeded to force in a run by walking Jay.

The next issue: With all the dialogue about Davis' demotion, the Mets have another looming decision: How to clear a rotation spot after next week's promotion of Zack Wheeler to face the Atlanta Braves.

Hefner breezed into the fifth Tuesday, when things unraveled after Murphy’s error.

Hefner’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.

Walk-a Wacha: Wacha, the St. Louis rookie phenom, earned his first major league win despite surrendering a solo homer to Omar Quintanilla and three walks in a two-run first by the Mets in which Wacha threw 37 pitches.

Wacha stranded the bases loaded in the first by coaxing an inning-ending groundout from Nieuwenhuis, then posted five scoreless frames. He departed with an 8-2 lead.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (4-6, 5.20 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Shelby Miller (7-3, 1.91) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Wright: Mets experience game's 'cruelness'

May, 16, 2013
ST. LOUIS -- Terry Collins struggled to find new analysis after the Mets suffered their sixth straight loss, 4-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

“It’s no secret. I mean, I don’t have a lot to say,” Collins said. “We beat this horse to death here all week. You’ve got to finish it. ... Outside of a few innings, we’ve been in every game in the last week. We just can’t finish them. We cannot get a big hit. We cannot get a big out. We cannot make a big play when we need to. It’s a combination of things that has just happened. And that’s what happens when you’re going bad. And we’re going bad. And we’re going to get out of it.

Brad Barr/USA TODAY Sports
Almost there: Matt Harvey pitches Friday in Chicago.

“We’re all frustrated. They’re frustrated. We’re trying to get them to relax and not put so much pressure on themselves. But they want to win. They want this to get over with. They want to put a smile on their face at the end of the game.”

Said David Wright: “The game is very cruel sometimes, and right now we’re experiencing kind of the cruelness of it. You get a quality start from your starter and there’s just so little room for error that a ball bounces one way, you don’t catch a break here, you don’t catch a break there, you end up losing the game because you have to play near-perfect when the offense is struggling the way it is right now.”

As for his level of concern, Wright added: “Well, we’re not playing good baseball. That’s easy to see. But it’s a resilient group. And you have to understand that we know there’s going to be tough times over the course of this season. We’re going through one right now. It’s not time to hold your heads down and mope around. We’ve got to find a way to compete, find ways to execute.

“You look across the field, it’s not necessarily the team with the best players that wins the most games. It’s the teams that execute, the teams that do the small things right.”

Speaking of those small things:

• On the seventh-inning wild pitch on a split-finger fastball from Scott Rice that produced the go-ahead run, Rice said: “I just cut it a little bit.”

• On the dropped tag between second and third base that prolonged the fourth inning and ultimately allowed a second run to score, Wright said: “I was trying to get to second, because we didn’t have anybody covering second. And [Jon Jay] just put the brakes on. When he stopped, obviously the ball just came flying out. I guess it hit something hard on him and the ball came kicking out. It’s just one of those crazy plays.”

• On John Buck getting doubled off second to end the second inning on Ruben Tejada’s lineout to Jay in center field, Buck said: “He hit it harder than I thought. I knew that they were shifted over. I knew it was toward him. I just didn’t think it was going to carry that far. We had the pitcher coming up. I was a little too aggressive.”

• On Buck caught stealing to end the fourth inning, Collins explained Cardinals starter Shelby Miller normally has a slow, 1.7-second delivery time. Buck tried to take advantage and steal a base like he did last homestand.

“He thought he had the guy read and [could] steal a run, as Yadier [Molina] does 25 times a summer, and just like John did the other day,” Collins said. “And the guy sped up his delivery and they got him.”

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 4, Mets 2

May, 15, 2013
WHAT IT MEANS: Oops, they did it again.

Inheriting runners on the corners from Shaun Marcum with two outs in the seventh inning and the score tied, Scott Rice tossed a wild pitch that allowed Daniel Descalso to race home from third with the go-ahead run.

The Mets ultimately lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, spoiling Marcum’s first solid outing as a Met and Rick Ankiel’s game-tying two-run homer.

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press
With Ty Wigginton batting, the second pitch from Scott Rice skipped by John Buck for a run-scoring wild pitch that gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

Rice was making his 23rd appearance, tied for the major league lead.

It marked the second time this season a Mets game was decided by a run-scoring wild pitch. Brandon Lyon did the honors in Miami for a walk-off loss on April 30.

The Mets (14-23) now have a season-high six-game losing streak for the second time in 2013. They have lost 14 of 18 to drop nine games under .500 this early in a season for the first time since May 13, 2001, under Bobby Valentine (also 14-23).

Marcum (6.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER) completed five innings for the first time as a Met -- he actually had his longest outing since last June 14 with the Milwaukee Brewers -- but nonetheless dropped to 0-4.

Ankiel had belted his first homer as a Met, a two-run shot in the top half of the seventh against Seth Maness, to even the score at 2. In 70 at-bats this season between the Mets and Houston Astros, Ankiel has six homers and 37 strikeouts.

OOPS, THE PREQUEL: Jon Jay’s two-out double to right-center in the fourth plated Matt Holliday with the game’s opening run.

Jay, apparently concerned about a potential play at the plate with Holliday, essentially gave himself up between second and third to deter the Mets from throwing home. That worked ... better than he could have expected. David Wright dropped the ball while applying a tag on Jay, and he successfully proceeded to third. After Wright's error, Jay scored an unearned run and gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead when Tony Cruz, getting a rare start over Yadier Molina, delivered a single.

Molina was heard from before the game ended. His pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth against LaTroy Hawkins gave St. Louis a two-run cushion.

WOE IS IKE: The Mets were shut down by Shelby Miller for 5 2/3 innings and Ike Davis twice failed to come through with runners in scoring position as the Mets were blanked until Ankiel’s blast.

Davis’ first-inning strikeout against Miller stranded Wright at second base. An inning later, John Buck was doubled off second base on Ruben Tejada’s lineout to center to end the half-inning. In the sixth, after Daniel Murphy doubled with one out and stole third, Wright struck out. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then lifted Miller for left-hander Randy Choate, who coaxed an inning-ending groundout from Davis to preserve a 2-0 lead.

Miller tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to shave his ERA to 1.40, tied with Clayton Kershaw and narrowly ahead of Matt Harvey (1.44) for tops in the National League.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93 ERA) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30) in the 1:45 p.m. ET series finale Thursday as the Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep. The Cardinals last swept a series of four or more games from the Mets in September 1982 at Shea Stadium, when Keith Hernandez played for St. Louis.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cardinals

June, 1, 2012

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Carlos Beltran returns to Citi Field as a visitor this weekend.
METS (28-23, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (27-24, second place/NL Central)

Friday: LHP Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (7-1, 3.06) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (8-1, 2.54), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (3-2, 4.55) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (4-4, 3.69), 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Monday: RHP Miguel Batista (1-1, 3.95) or RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-2, 5.60) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.36), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Ex-Met Carlos Beltran leads the National League with 15 homers, while his 42 RBIs trail only Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier (44). Beltran did not start Wednesday because of right-knee discomfort, although he entered in the eighth and singled. Beltran nonetheless has started 43 of St. Louis’ 51 games in right field and has appeared in all but two games. He signed a two-year, $26 million deal with St. Louis on Dec. 23. Beltran’s next steal will be the 300th of his career. He has 317 career homers, and will become the eighth member of the 300/300 club. He will join Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Sanders.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Yadier Molina signed a $75 million contract extension during spring training.

• Left-hander Jaime Garcia, originally scheduled to face the Mets in the series opener, will be skipped this turn in the rotation because of elbow inflammation. Thursday’s off-day allows the Cardinals to slide the other members of the rotation up a game, including moving Kyle Lohse into the Mets series.

Lance Lynn is tied with Cole Hamels for the major league lead in wins with eight.

Mike Matheny has taken over for Tony La Russa as manager, and is one of two former players who has stepped right into managing without any coaching experience. The other: ex-Met Robin Ventura as skipper of the Chicago White Sox. Matheny was a catcher for the Cardinals from 2000 through 2004, during a 13-year career.

Skip Schumaker will land on the DL after pulling a hamstring Wednesday against the Braves. He likely will be replaced by first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig, who is due to be activated. Schumaker began the season on the DL with an oblique strain, but had seen considerable playing time with center fielder Jon Jay (shoulder) and Craig (hamstring) sidelined. Also on the injury front, third baseman David Freese has missed three straight starts with right wrist soreness, although he entered Wednesday’s game as a replacement.

• Minus Albert Pujols, and with Lance Berkman lost for at least another eight to 10 weeks following surgery last Friday to repair damage in his right knee, rookie Matt Adams had settled in of late at first base.

Adam Wainwright has a pedestrian 4-5 record and 4.45 ERA as he returns from Tommy John surgery. But he has allowed one run in 15 innings over his past two starts, against San Diego and Philadelphia, as he puts more distance between himself and the procedure.

• Catcher Yadier Molina signed a five-year, $75 million extension during spring training. Molina left Sunday’s game in the fifth inning with dizziness, which was attributed to dehydration. Molina has caught 46 of the team’s 51 games, the most in that span to start a season in his career.

• The Cardinals promoted Maikel Cleto from Triple-A during Thursday’s off-day. Cleto originally was a Mets farmhand. He was traded to Seattle in the deal that returned J.J. Putz and Sean Green. Cleto made his major league debut last season with St. Louis, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings over three relief appearances.

• Left fielder Matt Holliday scored an MLB-high 25 runs in May. He hit .340 with six homers and 21 RBIs during the month. He also walked 17 times, for a .432 on-base percentage.

Last series results

St. Louis won, 2-1, at Busch Stadium, Sept. 20-22 (AP game recaps)

Cardinals 11, Mets 6: Pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot’s go-ahead double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning gave St. Louis its 11th win in 13 games kept it 2 behind the Braves in the wild-card chase. The Cardinals scored six times in the seventh to come back from an early 4-0 deficit after the Braves beat Florida 4-0. Albert Pujols went 4-for-5. Theriot hit a pitch from Tim Byrdak into the gap in left-center to bring in Pujols and Lance Berkman, who both singled against Josh Stinson (0-2), for a 7-6 lead. More

Cardinals 6, Mets 5: David Freese drove in five runs with a go-ahead three-run homer and a triple. The Cardinals moved within 1 games of Atlanta in the National League wild-card race. Jaime Garcia (13-7), making his 30th start, pitched around four unearned runs in 7 2/3 innings. The Mets led 4-3 after six and the Cardinals were going quietly in the seventh when Albert Pujols singled off reliever Miguel Batista with two outs. Terry Collins brought in lefty Daniel Herrera (0-1) to make Lance Berkman bat right-handed, but Berkman foiled the strategy by singling. Collins then went to Pedro Beato, and Freese tagged him for a 389-foot, opposite-field homer to give the Cardinals a 6-4 advantage. More

Mets 8, Cardinals 6: Tony LaRussa insisted his playoff-hopeful team wouldn't be crushed after blowing a four-run cushion in the ninth inning. The loss dropped St. Louis two games behind idle Atlanta for the wild card, with each team having six games left. The Cardinals lost for only the third time in 16 games. Shortstop Rafael Furcal misplayed a potential double-play grounder at the start of the Mets' six-run burst, fueling the comeback. Ahead 6-2, the Cardinals walked three batters in helping the Mets take the lead. Willie Harris drew a walk to begin the inning and capped it with a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs. It was the Mets' biggest ninth-inning comeback since they scored five to beat the Cubs 6-5 on May 17, 2007. More



Daniel Murphy
.301 9 53 73
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .845
WB. Colon 12
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.44
SOZ. Wheeler 155