- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Bartolo Colon allowed two earned runs in 13 innings his last two outings before the All-Star break.

The time off didn’t help the 42-year-old right-hander.

“One of the things the break can do to certain guys is just get you out of whack, and that wasn’t the Bartolo Colon we’ve known,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets lost 12-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night. “He just didn’t make any pitches when he needed to.”

Colon walked three, including leadoff man Kolten Wong in the first, after totaling 11 walks in 105 innings his first 17 starts. But he disagreed that pitching on 10 days rest was to blame.

“I don’t think so, because that break is going to help everybody including myself to be fresh for the second half,” Colon said through an interpreter. “It didn’t really affect me at all.”

Colon (9-8) gave up four runs in the first and surrendered seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. He was roughed up by the Cardinals for the second time, giving up eight runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-0 loss May 20.

“Nothing I can really pinpoint,” Colon said. “But they were really aggressive and attacked my pitches. They know I’m going to be aggressive in the zone and they took advantage of it.”

The Cardinals had enough after one inning against the worst offense in the National League, which us batting .234. The Mets had 12 hits but were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners, and lost 3-2 in the series opener Friday.

“That’s been our nemesis all year,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’re getting guys on, we’re just not driving them in.”

Jason Heyward matched a career best with five hits, Randal Grichuk had two homers and six RBIs, and John Lackey worked seven strong innings to lead St. Louis.

Heyward has seven hits, including a triple and double, two RBIs and two steals in the first two games of the series. He was removed after singling in the eighth.

Grichuk was 3 for 3 with a two-run homer off Carlos Torres that capped a four-run fifth and a three-run shot off Alex Torres in the eighth.

Jhonny Peralta added three hits and an RBI. St. Louis improved to major league-bests of 58-33 overall and 33-11 at home.

The Cardinals scored four in the first, fifth and eighth.

Lackey (8-5) scattered 10 hits, one of them to .084-hitting Colon, but was hurt only by Michael Cuddyer’s eighth homer leading off the sixth. The 36-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.63 ERA his last seven starts, working seven or more innings in all but one of them.

Cuddyer had three hits and Ruben Tejada added an RBI double in the eighth for New York. Cuddyer has five career homers against Lackey, his most against any pitcher.

“Personally, it was good,” Cuddyer said. “But you would trade that for a win any day.”

Colon got a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen after facing just seven hitters and already down 3-0. He’s lost his last four decisions, posting a 6.18 ERA in that span.

The Mets have homered in six straight games, scoring 17 of their 19 runs via the long ball.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: Cuddyer says he’ll probably have to deal with a left knee bone bruise the rest of the season.

Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia (groin) and RHP Jordan Walden (bicep) threw side sessions.

UP NEXT

Mets: Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.61) has won his last two starts and held left-handed hitters to one hit in 15 at-bats his last three. The Cardinals’ Mark Reynolds is 6 for 12 with two homers against him.

Cardinals: Rookie lefty Tim Cooney (0-0, 4.34) makes his fifth career start seeking his first decision.

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