(AP) -- Carlos Beltran wasn't very effective in his much anticipated return to Citi Field to face the New York Mets back in June, and he's slumping currently.
Beltran is enduring a 20-game homerless drought for the St. Louis Cardinals, who are clinging to the NL's second wild-card spot as they open a three-game home set Monday against the surging Mets.
It was a major story when Beltran came back to New York (64-70) for a series that began June 1. The outfielder signed a seven-year deal worth 119 million with the Mets in 2005, and was 2 for 18 with five strikeouts in his return as St. Louis (72-62) dropped three of four.
Beltran is hitting .160 with 23 strikeouts in the 20 games since he went deep Aug. 10 at Philadelphia. He was 5 for 35 with 10 strikeouts on the Cardinals' 4-6 road trip.
With little chance of catching Central-leading Cincinnati, St. Louis is one-half game ahead of the Dodgers and 1 12 in front of Pittsburgh in the race for the second wild card.