NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese flopped on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
The Mets (23-17) eventually dropped into a first-place tie with Washington atop the NL East. The Nationals rallied to beat the Yankees in D.C.
The 10 runs surrendered by the Mets marked a season high. The Amazin’s entered Tuesday’s game with an MLB-best 2.31 ERA in May.
The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in five of their past eight games.
Niese allowed a single run in each of the first four innings.
Opposing pitcher Michael Wacha's squeeze bunt plated a run in the second. In the third, a retreating Juan Lagares uncharacteristically dropped Grichuk's shot to deep center for a leadoff triple. Grichuk scored on Jhonny Peralta's bloop single. The Cardinals built a 4-0 lead in the fourth on Mark Reynolds' solo homer.
Niese departed after surrendering a two-run double to Kolten Wong in the sixth. He did not record an out in the frame. Niese surrendered 11 hits before departing, falling one shy of matching his career high. He allowed 12 in six innings against the Cincinnati Reds on May 5, 2010.
With the Mets trailing 6-2, Erik Goeddel inherited two runners in scoring position from Niese. Goeddel allowed both to score, plus two more of his own in the frame.
Goeddel's streak of scoreless relief appearances to open the season ended at 14. It was snapped three shy of matching Joe Smith's franchise record, which was set in 2007.
The ugliness in the six-run sixth included Goeddel fielding Wacha's bunt, looking back the two runners in scoring position, but being helpless to do anything because no one was covering first base.
The Mets’ lone damage against Wacha came on a two-run homer, which Daniel Murphy tucked inside the right-field foul pole in the fourth inning.
Debutant: Darrell Ceciliani produced an infield single in his first major league at-bat. Pinch-hitting in the seventh, Ceciliani chopped a ball past Wacha and beat out the grounder.
Ceciliani replaced Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment earlier Tuesday.
What’s next: Bartolo Colon looks to rebound from Friday's flop against the Milwaukee Brewers, when he allowed six runs (five earned) in five innings. Colon (6-2, 3.86 ERA) opposes Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez (3-2, 4.73) at 7:10 p.m. ET Wednesday.