One of the reasons the Cardinals have scored only one run in the first three games of the four-game series in New York is elementary. They aren't hitting the ball.
After LHP Johan Santana fanned seven (walking five) in no-hitting the Cardinals on Friday night, Cardinals hitters struck out 23 times, including 14 on Sunday night, and drew just three walks in the next two games.
Good news: After 26 23 scoreless innings, rookie CF Adron Chambers singled in 3B David Freese with two out in the eighth inning. The two had nearly combined for a run in the sixth inning after Chambers singled with two out but Freese was thrown out at home by Mets center fielder Andres Torres.
Bad news: The Cardinals suffered their fifth straight loss, 6-1, to the Mets. Against the Eastern Division, they now are 3-11, including losing eight of their last 10 games to Eastern Division teams.
"It's a little bit of everything. I think they're pitching great. We're not hitting the ball; we're not getting on base," right fielder Carlos Beltran said. The Cardinals were a season-high nine games over .500 not so long ago. But most of that had been achieved against the woeful National League Central Division, of which the Cardinals are members.
While the Cardinals are 17-12 against the Central and 7-4 against the West, they are eight games under .500 against the more competitive NL East.
But at last the Cardinals avoided being shut out for a third consecutive time since October, 1976.
"We ran into some pretty good pitching. We ran into some at-bats that I think some guys would like to have back," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's just one of those runs. The only way to get out of it is to work."
-- CF Shane Robinson was in the original lineup but was scratched when he experienced a migraine in the afternoon. Rookie Adron Chambers, a later insertion, got two hits and drove in a run.
-- RHP Fernando Salas passed a kidney stone upon his arrival at Class AAA Memphis a few days ago. Salas has pitched more comfortably since then.
-- LHP Jaime Garcia may yet take his start in Houston on Tuesday after missing one because of some elbow tenderness. Garcia was able to throw on flat ground in St. Louis over the weekend.
-- RHP Jake Westbrook gave up five runs and nine hits over five innings as he dropped to 4-5. He has worked only 25 innings in his last five starts, none of them wins, and has given up 39 hits and 23 earned runs. He allowed a pair of hits to Mets LHP Jonathon Niese on two-strike pitches, with the second one costing him a couple of runs on a homer by LF Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
-- 3B David Freese ended a nothing-for-14 dive when he singled in the eighth and came around to score. Freese's average, over .300 much of the season, has dipped into the .250s and one wonders if his injured right hand, which cost him a few starts, actually has healed.
BY THE NUMBERS: 89-89 -- Career record of RHP Jake Westbrook, who suffered 6-1 loss at New York on Sunday night.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm looking to make an impact on the second part of the season." -- 1B Lance Berkman, who had right knee surgery but hopes to be back around the All-Star break in July.