ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Facing fellow rookies, Jacob deGrom got by far the worst of the matchup with career lows across the board.
''You've got to make pitches to a good team, as they are, so one of those nights,'' Collins said. ''I thought he was OK.
''He's going to keep running out there so he's going to get better and better,'' he added.
DeGrom (0-4) gave up six runs and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings in his seventh career start, all three numbers statistical low points. He handled the bat fine, with a sacrifice bunt in the third and a broken-bat liner to second with the base loaded in the fourth after Ruben Tejada was intentionally walked.
DeGrom thought bad luck was a factor on the mound, too, with ''three or four'' of the hits on the barrel and many others finding holes. But he also accepted responsibility.
''I didn't make the pitches I needed to when I had big situations with guys on,'' deGrom said.
Allen Craig and Matt Adams each had two RBIs and the St. Louis Cardinals got effective work from pitchers subbing for ace Adam Wainwright.
Carlos Martinez allowed an unearned run in four innings in his second career start and Nick Greenwood (1-0) allowed a run on two hits in 3 1-3 innings to win in his major league debut for St. Louis, which has won seven of eight.
Wainwright (9-3, 2.15) is skipping a turn to allow for tendinitis in the back of his elbow to subside. He is expected to return on Saturday against the Phillies.
Matt Holliday had two hits, including a single for his 1,000th career RBI in a four-run fifth that put the Cardinals up 6-1.
Collins batted the pitcher eighth for the first time in franchise history, a ploy he first saw used by longtime Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. But the novel lineup with deGrom batting eighth and Eric Young Jr. ninth mustered just five hits.
''We scored a run, it was fine, it worked out all right,'' Collins said. But he wouldn't say whether he'd try the ploy again Tuesday, saying ''I have no idea.''
New York has lost 10 of 13, scoring two or fewer runs six times. Curtis Granderson and Chris Young had an RBI apiece.
Adams homered his first three games coming off the 15-day disabled list from a strained left calf. He settled for a pair of RBI singles Monday and stung the ball all four at-bats.
Eric Young Jr., activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, had an infield hit to help manufacture a run in the third. But Martinez struck him out to end the fourth.
The 22-year-old Martinez is one of the Cardinals' top rotation prospects with a fastball that registered triple digits in the first inning. He's been a setup man most of the year with a previous long outing of 2 2-3 innings and needed just 14 pitches to retire the Mets in order the first two innings.
The Cardinals selected the 26-year-old Greenwood's contract from Triple-A Memphis Sunday to provide support behind Martinez.
The 25-year-old deGrom has allowed 13 runs on 26 hits in 15 innings his last three starts.
''It's all about command,'' Collins said. ''A couple of pitches on the replay, you could see he left them right in the middle of the plate. You're going to get burned.''
Seth Maness retired the last four hitters in order for his first save, also his first chance of the season.
NOTES: The Cardinals are 19-2 against the NL East at home the last two seasons. ... Michael Wacha (4-5, 2.88) opposes Jon Niese (3-3, 2.54) on Tuesday. Wacha had a career-best 10 strikeouts and a career-worst five walks April 23 at Citi Field and lasted just four innings in a 3-2 loss. ... St. Louis Rams draft picks in the final week of OTAs attended the game. ... Attendance of 42,808 was the Cardinals' 18th sellout of the season. ... Chris Young is a career .289 pinch hitter with 13 RBIs in 45 at-bats. He drove in a run in the eighth.