ST. LOUIS — David Wright gave the New York Mets lineup a hopeful sign with his first home run in 71 at-bats. He knows the hits need to keep coming.
“There’s many sleepless nights,” Wright said after a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 17. “I won’t lie and say it’s easy or it doesn’t bother me.”
Wright homered for the first time since May 28, after entering in a 3-for-43 slump over the previous 13 games. He leads the Mets with 34 RBIs, but has just four this month. The homer was his fifth overall and first on the road this season.
“I always put a lot of pressure on myself,” Wright said. “I know that hitting in the middle of this lineup, a lot of the burden falls on me.”
Mets Manager Terry Collins said he never doubted whether Wright would snap out of it.
“Everybody goes through these things, and the great ones get out of it,” Collins said. “Certainly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he goes on a tear now and starts swinging the way we know he can. We’ve just got to get him some help.”
Michael Wacha escaped a pair of jams with strikeouts, and the Cardinals snapped a fifth-inning tie with RBIs from Jon Jay and Matt Holliday.
Yadier Molina hit his first homer since May 24 for the Cardinals, who have won eight of nine and will go for a three-game sweep on June 18.
Lucas Duda also homered for the Mets, who have lost 11 of 14. “I got better results, so that’s good,” Wright said. “We’re not doing much damage offensively, and that’s frustrating.
“Hopefully we start coming around and give our pitchers a little more run support.”
Collins batted the pitcher eighth, with Eric Young Jr. hitting ninth, for the second straight game in an effort to stimulate the offense. During the 14-game slump, theMets have scored two or fewer runs seven times.
Daisuke Matsuzaka worked a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Mets starter Jonathon Niese (3-4). Matsuzaka left a June 15 start against San Diego after one inning because of a severe upset stomach.
Wacha (5-5) gave up a run and five hits in six innings. He fanned Daniel Murphy with runners on second and third to end the fifth and preserve a 1-all tie, and struck out Ruben Tejada with two on to end the sixth when the Cardinals led 3-1.
Jay’s RBI triple with two outs in the fifth gave the Cardinals the lead, and Holliday followed with an RBI double. Pinch-hitter Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos added RBIs in the sixth, with both runs unearned after second baseman Murphy dropped Daniel Descalso’s slicing, looping liner with a man on and two out.
“Unfortunately, things went through me today,” Murphy said. “It didn’t look very pretty for me.”
Niese allowed five runs, three earned, in six innings. The lefty has made 18 consecutive starts allowing three or fewer earned runs. It is the longest active streak in the majors, extending to last September, but he is just 5-5 during that span.
Duda hit his ninth homer of the season leading off the ninth against Jason Motte to make it 5-2, and Anthony Recker doubled, but Pat Neshek retired the next three for his second save in four chances.
(R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer)