NEW YORK-- The Mets' playoff hopes continue to dwindle away.
Following a dramatic Subway Series victory over the Yankees last night, the Mets were unable to build any momentum as their bats were non-existent against the St. Louis Cardinals, falling by a score of 7-0 on Monday.
The Mets entered the evening fighting with the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the National league. However, with their latest loss, they are now 72-73 and 3.5 back in this race, as well as 5.5 back in the NL East with just 17 games left to play, which doesn't bode well for their postseason chances.
"It's scoreboard watching time of year right now, so I think everyone is very aware of where we are in the Wild Card and division race," said tonight's losing starter Rich Hill. "It comes down to what we can control, we have to take care of our own business by winning ball games."
Hill opposed a fellow 40-year-old in Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright at Citi Field in this contest. Hill gave up three runs across five innings, but received zero run support from his offense.
As for Wainwright, he stifled the Mets like it was 2006, shutting them out on four hits through six innings. The Mets got the tying run to the plate in Michael Conforto in the bottom of the fifth, but he lined out to Paul Goldschmidt at first base to end the inning.
The Mets also had a bases loaded chance with two outs in the bottom of the first as well, but couldn't cash in. Wainwright had his cutter and curveball working well in this outing, which allowed him to shut down the Mets' lineup with ease on a night where he didn't have his best stuff.
The Mets' bats were nowhere to be found in this game, and although they hit the ball hard on several occasions, they had nothing to show for it, as the majority of this well-struck contact found the gloves of the Cardinals' infield.
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth, the Mets had a prime opportunity to get back in it after they got runners on the corners with nobody out, but Pete Alonso, Javier Báez and Jeff McNeil all struck out in order against Alex Reyes to end the threat.
"Reyes has got special stuff but the command is what gets him in trouble.....The stuff I believe played to the come back. He can strikeout batters, that's what good stuff can do," said Luis Rojas of Reyes, who crushed the Mets' momentum late in the game.
Overall, the Mets left nine runners on base and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which basically tells the whole story.
After a big series win against the Yankees, Rojas said during this afternoon's pregame zoom that he was hoping to avoid an emotional letdown. And although the Mets didn't show many signs of life tonight, Rojas doesn't believe the team lacked energy, despite the outcome.
"Guys were quiet, but we got shutout. Something that didn't happen over the weekend, we had been hitting pretty good," said Rojas. "Today we had two innings where we threatened to score, in the first inning and the eighth inning, but other than that, nothing happened.
"When the offense doesn't get anything going you can say like: 'okay, the energy is down,' but tonight we just didn't score. It was a 3-0 ballgame and when the game was in range in the eighth, you could see we had that normal energy, we just didn't come through."
Hill gave up back-to-back doubles to Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson, which led to the Cardinals' first run of the night in the top of the second. And in the following inning, Hill gave up back-to-back hits again, including a double and then Paul Goldschmidt's RBI single, which extended St. Louis' lead to 2-0.
In the top of the fifth, Goldschmidt struck again with a solo blast for his 25th home run of the season, which increased the Cardinals' lead to 3-0 at this point.
The 41-year-old Hill finished the night, tossing five innings, while allowing three runs on six hits and striking out four to go along with two walks. Unfortunately, he did not receive any run support, exiting with a 3-0 deficit.
Heath Hembree, Miguel Castro and Yennsy Diaz combined for three scoreless innings in relief. But Diaz stayed on for the ninth and allowed four more runs, which saw the Cardinals extend their lead to 7-0.
And the Mets' bats were unable to make up the difference, which sealed their fate in a shutout loss to the Cardinals.