Adrian Houser's struggles continue as Mets fall to Cardinals, 7-4

Wearing their grey City Connect jerseys for the first time, it was Sonny Gray and the Cardinals -- in their road greys -- who got the best of the Mets, 7-4 on Saturday afternoon in Citi Field.

Here are the takeaways...

-Adrian Houser was a tough-luck pitcher early in the first inning. Brendan Donovan lined a double off of Pete Alonso's glove for a double. That was followed by singles from Willson Contreras and Nolan Arenado to drive in the first run of the game. Both singles exited off the bat slower than 70 mph. Houser could not overcome the bad luck as the Cardinals batted around to score four runs in the first, the most they've scored in an inning all season.

The first-year Met did settle down a bit, but could not give his team any length. The right-hander lasted just 4.1 innings (89 pitches/57 strikes), giving up six earned runs on nine hits, two walks and striking out just two batters. Houser has pitched 8.1 innings over his last two starts and given up 14 runs.

-The Mets' offense was largely held in check by starter Sonny Gray, but they finally broke through in the fifth. After an error and a walk to lead off the inning, Brandon Nimmo hit a two-run single to cut the Cardinals lead to 6-2. Alonso went with a 93 mph fastball outside the zone to dump a two-run homer 403 feet over the right-field wall.

Alonso's home run was the first given up by Gray this season. It's also the slugger's 200th career homer, the fourth-fastest in major league history.

Alonso finished 1-for-4 with that huge homer.

-Another big moment in the game came in the eighth with the Mets down 7-4. Francisco Lindor struck out on a check swing, but Contreras could not keep the ball so the Mets shortstop ran to first and seemed safe after an errant throw. However, the home plate umpire called Lindor out for running out of the basepath onto the infield grass. Instead of Alonso being up with a man on first and zero out, there was one out and bases empty.

With the heart of the lineup leading the inning, the Mets could not push across any runs. Lindor finished 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. J.D. Martinez did pick up a hit, his only one of the day, in his second game as a Met.

The Mets had a chance at tying the game in the ninth with men on first and second and one out, Tomas Nido -- who hit a home run Friday -- popped out and Nimmo walked the bases loaded for Lindor. The shortstop flew out to end the threat and the game.

-The Mets added two new players Mark Vientos and Dednil Nunez after Drew Smith was placed on the 15-day IL and Starling Marte was put on the bereavement list.

Nunez got three big outs, giving up one walk and striking out three, including punching out Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in back-to-back at-bats. Vientos had two at-bats. He flew out swinging at the first pitch in the seventh inning and hit a single up the middle in the ninth. He stayed in at third base.

Game MVP: Sonny Gray

Gray pretty dominant on Saturday afternoon. The AL Cy Young runner-up pitched six innings (92 pitches/58 strikes), giving up four runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks. He struck out nine Mets in the process as well.


What's next...

The Mets complete their three-game series with the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:40 p.m.

Jose Quintana (1-2, 4.21 ERA) will take the mound against Lance Lynn (1-0, 2.81 ERA).