Cards’ offense continues vanishing act in road trip-ending loss to Mets

Kolten Wong had two of the Cardinals' four hits Thursday.

Kathy Willens/AP

Maybe the Cardinals will find their offense at home. It sure disappeared for them on the road.

Managing only four hits against 40-year-old Bartolo Colon, the Cardinals ended their longest trip of the season with a 4-1 loss at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon, leaving St. Louis with a 5-6 record on the 11-day trip.

The Cardinals scored a total of six runs in losing three of four to the Mets. Since an eight-run outburst in the series opener at Washington last Thursday, they have topped three runs only once. The team batting average is down to .242, and they’re not hitting with runners in scoring position or with very much power.

"We put good swings on (Colon) early but he got better as he went. He’s kept us off balance the last couple of times we faced him," manager Mike Matheny said on the FOX Sports Midwest postgame show. Colon held the Cardinals to one run over eight innings when he beat them 5-1 last year, when he was pitching for the A’s.

"We’re seeing some grinding out at-bats, but not as much as these guys would like to," Matheny added. "When that starts coming around, so will the wins."

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The Cardinals come home Friday night but won’t be at Busch Stadium long before another three-stop trip. They will face the Pirates this weekend and then the Brewers before heading out on the road again.

3 UP

— Starting pitching. By working 6 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs, Lance Lynn did what Cardinals starters did throughout the trip. He excelled. St. Louis starters did not allow more than two earned runs in any of the 11 games. Their ERA since the team left Busch: 1.20.

— Tony Cruz. Making his third straight start with Lynn on the mound, Cruz is looking a lot like a personal catcher. And why not as the Cardinals try to give Yadier Molina some rest? Lynn has done his best work this season with Cruz behind the plate, and Cruz has done his best hitting in the games he’s caught Lynn. Cruz gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the fifth when he doubled to center following a two-out single by Kolten Wong.


— Wong. The rookie second baseman picked up his first two hits in more than a week, going 2 for 3 against a pitcher who debuted in the majors when Wong was 6. Wong also scored the Cardinals’ run as he made just his third start in the past week. He is hitting .239, which won’t win Rookie of the Year honors but is about average on the scuffling Cardinals.

3 DOWN

— Power. After hitting five homers in three games at Milwaukee, the Cardinals did not hit another the rest of the trip while stretching their long-ball drought to 291 at-bats. Their 12 homers for the season are the fewest in the NL and seven fewer than the team had at the same point last season. The 2013 Cardinals went on to finish with 125 homers, the team’s lowest output since 1995. After 23 games, the 2014 Cardinals are on a pace for 85.

— Kevin Siegrist. For the first time in his young career, he gave up three hits in an outing. What was stunning, though, was that all three hits off the lefty reliever came against hitters from the left side, and they came consecutively. Curtis Granderson, on an 0-2 count, singled sharply, Eric Young Jr. tripled and Daniel Murphy blooped a single to left that scored Young to give the Mets their final run.

— Matt Adams versus lefties. With two on and two out in the eighth, the Mets called on lefty Scott Rice to face Adams for the second straight game. For the second straight game, Adams didn’t deliver. He battled Rice for seven pitches but ended up grounding meekly to the pitcher on a 2-2 slider, ending a rare scoring chance for the Cardinals. For the season, Adams has two singles in 16 at-bats (.125) against left-handers.

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.