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Wright breaks out of slump, but Mets' troubles continue in loss to Cardinals

Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese stretches on the

Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese stretches on the mound after giving up an RBI single to St. Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 17, 2014, in St. Louis. Credit: AP / Jeff Roberson

ST. LOUIS -- Even though David Wright showed signs of emerging from his June swoon, it wasn't good enough Tuesday night to spare the Mets from a sloppy 5-2 loss to the Cardinals.

Against righthander Michael Wacha, Wright bashed a solo homer and ripped a double to the gap, an outburst that came after his slide had reached 3-for-44. Nevertheless, the Mets (31-40) dropped their second straight and fell to a season-worst nine games under .500.

"There's many sleepless nights," said Wright, who went 2-for-4. "I won't lie and say that it's easy or it doesn't bother me going through those types of things."

Jonathon Niese (3-4, 2.67) took the loss and again received little support both at the plate and in the field. The Mets lefthander allowed five runs, though only three were earned. The Cardinals' two other runs came after a pair of miscues in the sixth by second baseman Daniel Murphy.

With two outs and Jhonny Peralta on second, Daniel Descalso lofted a soft liner to Murphy, who was fooled by the spin of the ball. Off the bat, Murphy retreated toward rightfield, then reversed course. When he turned awkwardly to catch the ball, it glanced off his mitt.

His misery only intensified when pinch hitter Kolten Wong delivered a two-out RBI single to center.

Still, the Mets had another chance to slam the door, this time when Wong tried to swipe second. Even with a runner on third, catcher Anthony Recker unleashed a strong throw, good enough to catch Wong. But instead of putting down a tag, Murphy whipped a throw to third base.

Behind home plate, an exasperated Recker held out his outstretched arms, the universal sign of confusion. Peter Bourjos followed with an infield single, pushing the Cardinals ahead 5-1.

"That was a very poor decision on my behalf," said Murphy, who removed his cap after the play and stared into space.

Aside from Yadier Molina's leadoff homer in the second, the Cardinals scored all of their runs on two-out hits. By contrast, the Mets' only runs came on Wright's homer in the fourth and Lucas Duda's solo shot in the ninth, his ninth of the season.

The Mets finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, continuing a common theme during a stretch in which they've dropped 11 of their last 14.

"We're not going up there and doing much damage," Wright said

Lately, Wright had been part of the problem. Since taking an 0-for-2 against the Cubs on June 3, the seven-time All-Star watched his average nosedive from .294 to .262.

"I haven't seen this since I've been here, where he's gone through this type of a slump," Terry Collins said before the game.

The manager believed Wright had been pressing, trying too hard to lift the Mets on his own. And against the Cardinals, Wright showed signs of letting the game come to him.

Wright's homer -- his fifth of the season, his first on the road, and his first in 71 at-bats -- came on a mistake pitch. Wacha (5-5, 2.79) missed over the plate with a hanging curveball. Wright pounced, extending through the ball, which soared 398 feet before landing a dozen rows up the leftfield stands.

In the sixth, Wright ripped a fastball to left-center, unleashing another smooth swing. It was his first two-hit game since June 2 and his first with two extra-base hits since May 24.

After the game, Collins said he wouldn't be surprised if Wright "goes on a tear right now."

But he also added a caveat, one that applies to the Mets as a whole. "We've got to get him some help," Collins said.

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