Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 4, Mets 2

WHAT IT MEANS: Oops, they did it again.

Inheriting runners on the corners from Shaun Marcum with two outs in the seventh inning and the score tied, Scott Rice tossed a wild pitch that allowed Daniel Descalso to race home from third with the go-ahead run.

The Mets ultimately lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, spoiling Marcum’s first solid outing as a Met and Rick Ankiel’s game-tying two-run homer.

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

With Ty Wigginton batting, the second pitch from Scott Rice skipped by John Buck for a run-scoring wild pitch that gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

Rice was making his 23rd appearance, tied for the major league lead.

It marked the second time this season a Mets game was decided by a run-scoring wild pitch. Brandon Lyon did the honors in Miami for a walk-off loss on April 30.

The Mets (14-23) now have a season-high six-game losing streak for the second time in 2013. They have lost 14 of 18 to drop nine games under .500 this early in a season for the first time since May 13, 2001, under Bobby Valentine (also 14-23).

Marcum (6.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER) completed five innings for the first time as a Met -- he actually had his longest outing since last June 14 with the Milwaukee Brewers -- but nonetheless dropped to 0-4.

Ankiel had belted his first homer as a Met, a two-run shot in the top half of the seventh against Seth Maness, to even the score at 2. In 70 at-bats this season between the Mets and Houston Astros, Ankiel has six homers and 37 strikeouts.

OOPS, THE PREQUEL: Jon Jay’s two-out double to right-center in the fourth plated Matt Holliday with the game’s opening run.

Jay, apparently concerned about a potential play at the plate with Holliday, essentially gave himself up between second and third to deter the Mets from throwing home. That worked ... better than he could have expected. David Wright dropped the ball while applying a tag on Jay, and he successfully proceeded to third. After Wright's error, Jay scored an unearned run and gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead when Tony Cruz, getting a rare start over Yadier Molina, delivered a single.

Molina was heard from before the game ended. His pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth against LaTroy Hawkins gave St. Louis a two-run cushion.

WOE IS IKE: The Mets were shut down by Shelby Miller for 5 2/3 innings and Ike Davis twice failed to come through with runners in scoring position as the Mets were blanked until Ankiel’s blast.

Davis’ first-inning strikeout against Miller stranded Wright at second base. An inning later, John Buck was doubled off second base on Ruben Tejada’s lineout to center to end the half-inning. In the sixth, after Daniel Murphy doubled with one out and stole third, Wright struck out. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then lifted Miller for left-hander Randy Choate, who coaxed an inning-ending groundout from Davis to preserve a 2-0 lead.

Miller tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to shave his ERA to 1.40, tied with Clayton Kershaw and narrowly ahead of Matt Harvey (1.44) for tops in the National League.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93 ERA) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30) in the 1:45 p.m. ET series finale Thursday as the Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep. The Cardinals last swept a series of four or more games from the Mets in September 1982 at Shea Stadium, when Keith Hernandez played for St. Louis.