(BaseballStL) -- Despite throwing his best game of the season, New York Mets starter Shaun Marcum failed to collect his first win of the year.
Marcum, who had not pitched more than 4.2 innings prior to Wednesday, allowed only five hits and two earned runs in 6.2 innings of work in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 31-year-old righty retired 10 of the first 11 Cardinals batters faced before running into trouble in the fourth inning on Wednesday night.
Matt Holliday, who reached on a one-out single, scored on a double by Jon Jay to right center field with two outs. Jay would advance to third base after David Wright was unable to hang onto the ball on an attempted tag. Tony Cruz scored Jay in the next at-bat for his second run batted in this season for a 2-0 lead.
Marcum needed 21 of the 96 total pitches thrown to get through the inning.
After Rick Ankiel blasted a 427-foot home run to tie the game in the seventh inning, Marcum issued a two-out walk to Daniel Descalso which was followed by a single from Pete Kozma. It would be the end for Marcum.
The Mets elected to bring in left-handed reliever Scott Rice with runners on the corners to face pinch-hitter Matt Adams before he was pulled back in favor of the right-handed hitting Ty Wigginton. Rice would bounce a pitch past John Buck to score Descalso, which gave the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
On paper it appeared Marcum would be in for a rough game facing the high-powered Cardinals offense that produced the best batting average (.308) in May prior to Wednesday. Add in the fact that Marcum hadn’t pitched more than 4.2 innings in any of his previous four appearances, including three starts, and it could have been ugly for the former Milwaukee Brewer.
Collectively the Mets starting rotation has been miserable before Wednesday night. In the previous 12 games, the starters went 1-6 with a 6.01 earned run average. Only seven times did a starter go deeper than six innings in that stretch.
The Mets offense continued to sputter behind Marcum, who has received only seven runs of support in his four starts, and failed to score more than three runs for the eighth time in its last nine games.