ST. LOUIS - Curtis Granderson has been the Mets' most productive offensive player, and their most consistent power threat. He leads the Mets with 14 homers.

But the Mets have wasted some of that power with Granderson stuck in the leadoff spot -- primarily because manager Terry Collins lacks any viable options. "You guys keep bringing that up, come up with a different leadoff hitter," Collins said Saturday, before the Mets' 12-2 loss to the Cardinals. "Give me a guy. Everybody keeps asking me why don't you put him in the middle? Well, who are we leading off?"

Moving Granderson to the middle of the lineup would increase his chances of coming to the plate with runners on base. But nobody on the roster has shown the ability to reach base at a high enough clip to bat atop the order.

That leaves Granderson, who is hitting .246 with a .342 on-base percentage, tied with Lucas Duda for the team lead. Of Granderson's 14 homers, only two have come with runners on base.

Despite his power at the plate, he has just 30 RBIs, a product of his limited opportunities.

It's possible that the trade market could provide the Mets some alternatives, especially with the club exploring potential deals to help bolster the outfield.

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Gerardo Parra of the Brewers and Will Venable of the Padres have plenty of experience in the leadoff spot during their careers. As a leadoff man this season, Parra is hitting .368/.400/.644 in 21 games.

But unless the Mets come up with a different choice, Granderson isn't moving in the order any time soon. Said Collins: "Until we come up with that guy that can do what he does, he's going to stay right there."

Extra bases

One day after he was benched, veteran leftfielder Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-5 with a solo homer. "I got some hits and I was able to out the barrel on a couple of balls," said Cuddyer, who has struggled in his first year with the Mets. "Personally, it was good, but you trade that for a win any day." . . . Centerfielder Juan Lagares did not start, with lefty-swinging Kirk Nieuwenhuis (2-for-4) in the lineup against righty John Lackey . . . Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the sixth. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI double.