The New York Mets will try to stop a four-game slide when they resume a four-game series Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Mets were handed a 6-3 loss in Monday's series opener at Busch Stadium, as the Cardinals broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Matt Carpenter had an RBI single and Matt Holliday later clubbed a two-run homer with two out.
Scott Rice was saddled with the loss for allowing the go-ahead run in relief of Jeremy Hefner, who gave up three runs in six innings.
"Not everything is gauged on wins and losses, although winning is the most important thing -- especially in the big leagues," Hefner said. "I need to keep the runs down early in the game, build some momentum and confidence for myself and the team, and hopefully we'll come out on the winning side more often than not."
Daniel Murphy was the lone bright spot for New York's offense and went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
New York has dropped 12 of 16 games and will hand the ball to Dillon Gee this evening. Gee is only 2-4 in seven starts to go along with a 5.55 earned run average and did not factor in the outcome of a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday. He gave up only a run in five innings.
Gee, a right-hander, is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two career starts against St. Louis. He is 1-2 in three road outings this season.
The Cardinals have been on a roll lately with 10 wins in 12 tries and improved to 3-1 on a 10-game homestand with last night's win.
Holliday had the big home run in the seventh and Carpenter ended 2-for-4 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Holliday, Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso all had two hits for St. Louis, which is 2 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati for the NL Central lead.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, who won his seventh straight regular-season home start dating back to last season, allowed all three New York runs on four hits. The right-hander walked five, but struck out seven.
"He's a horse. He comes out and gives us seven innings," Holliday said of Lynn. "He's just one of our big guys."
Making his major league debut for the Cardinals Tuesday will be John Gast. Gast, a left-hander, is taking the rotation spot of injured starter Jake Westbrook and was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in seven starts with Triple-A Memphis.
"He just continues to improve," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Gast. "Obviously, he had a very good April, and hopefully he can keep building on that here. He's been just a quality pitcher. He's got a good arm and knows how to pitch. He's smart."
The Mets took four of seven meetings with the Cardinals last season.