The way Curtis Granderson and the Mets are swinging, Adam Wainwright figured to be a tough chore Tuesday night.
Wainwright tossed seven neat innings before leaving with a knee injury, and Jon Jay hit a two-run single that sent the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-0 victory.
"We ran into a guy who's what, finished in the top three in Cy Youngs the last couple years? He threw the ball well," said cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy, who had a rare bunt single.
"He commands all his pitches to all quadrants of the zone, so you don't know which way he's going to go. ... He just crisscrosses you, so it's tough."
Left fielder Matt Holliday robbed Chris Young of a tying homer, one night after the Mets played some dazzling defense of their own to post a shutout in the series opener.
Granderson went 0 for 3 before a sparse crowd announced at a season-low 20,220. He is hitless in 22 at-bats — the longest drought of his career, according to STATS. His 4-for-50 slide has dropped his average to .116.
"I wish I knew," Granderson said. "Because if I knew I would hopefully be able to figure it out. That's what we're searching for right now, trying to see exactly what it could, what it might be."
Granderson was the team's biggest free-agent score last winter, agreeing to a $60 million, four-year contract following an injury-plagued season across town with the Yankees.
"If it is something that we need to change anything, I'm definitely open for it," Granderson said.
"But at the same time, we're still just trying to get to where everything feels consistent and can be repeated and go from there."
Mets manager Terry Collins thinks the only way to get Granderson going is to keep him in the lineup.
"He hasn't changed his demeanor at all, and that's why I know he's not letting this get to him. He's going to battle his way through it," Collins said. "There's a certain time, and you see it with a lot of guys, where after a while something is going to get slammed down. But he's handled it great."
Wainwright (4-1) faced the minimum through four innings and outpitched Dillon Gee. It was the second consecutive scoreless start for the 6-foot-7 right-hander, who tossed a two-hit shutout last Thursday at Washington.
Wainwright allowed four singles and walked none. He struck out three but was pulled after 79 pitches following an awkward tumble in the seventh.
Young fisted a short flare between the mound and first base. Wainwright went after it and lunged at the ball, but was unable to grab it and fell to the grass. Young was tagged out by first baseman Matt Adams, and Wainwright never threw another pitch.
He left the game with a hyperextended right knee, but the Cardinals hope it's nothing serious.
"Just give me a couple of days and everything will be all right," Wainwright said.
Kevin Siegrist tossed a perfect eighth and Trevor Rosenthal completed a four-hitter, the Cardinals' fourth shutout in 21 games this season. Rosenthal worked around two walks for his sixth save.
"We just couldn't mount any offense," Collins said.
Holliday added an RBI single off Jose Valverde in the ninth.
Even when Wainwright made a mistake, he got help. Holliday leaped at the fence to take a two-run homer away from Young in the fifth.
"I felt like I got it," Young said. "I thought I had just enough on it to get it out of the yard, but Holliday was able to make a good play."
Two batters later, Wainwright hung a curve that Travis d'Arnaud banged right to shortstop for an inning-ending double play.
Rain fell in the first inning and Gee (1-1) matched zeros with Wainwright until the fourth.
Holliday drew a leadoff walk and the Cardinals loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Adams and Yadier Molina. Jay hit a sharp grounder through the box for a two-run single that ended New York's season-best scoreless streak at 20 innings.
Gee, who had gone 10 innings without giving up a run, buckled down from there.
"I was happy with the way I limited the damage in that inning," he said. "That could have gotten pretty ugly, and in the past it has. I think it was a big step for me."
Gee gave up six hits over six innings in the latest solid outing for Mets starters, who have a 1.98 ERA in the past eight games.