Rapid Reaction: Cards 10, Mets 4

WHAT IT MEANS: Sandy Alderson suggested Monday he was unsure “things can devolve any further.”

Let’s just say that proposition might be tested.

On Tuesday, the Mets sent Scott Atchison to the disabled list for numbness in his fingers, sent top prospect Zack Wheeler to New York for a medical exam on his shoulder, then got drubbed by the St. Louis Cardinals, 10-4, Tuesday at Busch Stadium with Darryl Strawberry among the 37,460 in attendance.

Dillon Gee surrendered six runs (five earned) while lasting only four innings, although he was not helped by an Ike Davis throwing error trying to initiate a double play in what became a three-run first for the Cards. Robert Carson entered the following frame, walked the Nos. 8 and 9 batters to lead off the inning, then served up a three-run homer to Carlos Beltran as the Cardinals took a 9-0 lead.

The Mets (14-22) lost their fifth straight and 13th in their past 17 games. They are now a season-worst eight games under .500. The Mets did snap a streak of seven straight games in which they failed to exceed three runs, although the scoring came after the game became a rout.

John Gast cruised into the sixth inning in his major league debut, when he surrendered four runs, including a two-run homer by Marlon Byrd after a botched double play prolonged the inning. Byrd had shaken himself up earlier making contact with the wall in foul territory down the right-field line while pursuing a David Freese fly ball.

Gast nonetheless earned a win in his debut. He became the second debuting pitcher to face the Mets this season, joining Miami’s Jose Fernandez, who allowed one run in five innings in a no-decision on April 7.

Gast was the first left-handed starting pitcher to make his major league debut for St. Louis since now-Mets outfielder Rick Ankiel in 1999, before he abandoned pitching.

WHAT’S NEXT: Locusts? ... Shaun Marcum (0-3, 8.59 ERA) bids for his first Mets win when he opposes right-hander Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.58) on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. ET. Miller is coming off an outing against the Colorado Rockies in which he allowed a leadoff single, then retired the next 27 batters.