PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Even without his best stuff, Adam Wainwright found a way to get the job done.
Wainwright, who is 13 months removed from elbow surgery, pitched around an infield error, a walk and a groundball base hit to keep the Mets scoreless through three innings in his second start of the spring, and the Cardinals rolled to a 7-1 win Tuesday.
The right-hander got rid of two baserunners on a pair of double plays, and after struggling with his command in the second inning, he bounced back to record three outs on 10 pitches. Wainwright missed all of last season and pitched for the first time since September 2010 last week.
“When you look at the scoreboard it’s just fine, but I wasn’t really controlling my body real well, getting my arm in a position to throw the ball,” Wainwright said. “I’ve got a little work to do. But the good thing about pitching is the days that you don’t necessarily feel great, you can still go out there and find a way. My arm felt great. My body felt great. I just wasn’t getting in the right position. You have days like that.”
Mets starter Mike Pelfrey was optimistic about his outing despite less impressive results. Pelfrey left some pitches up early on, and the Cardinals took advantage for a 3-0 lead after two innings. David Freese, the World Series MVP, hit a two-run shot over the right field wall with one out in the first inning, and Yadier Molina led off the second with a home run to left.
Freese also had a three-run homer Monday.
“I tried to work on my fastball command — I thought my command with my fastball was so bad last week — and they came out swinging,” Pelfrey said. “They were aggressive early in the count, and then we started throwing curveballs and cutters and changeups first pitch, and I thought it got a lot better after that.”
Pelfrey gave up four runs on six hits in 4 1-3 innings but didn’t walk a batter and had better command over his last two innings. He had a similar pitching line in a shorter outing March 8.
“I thought in the third and fourth and actually fifth inning there was some depth to his sinker,” manager Terry Collins said. “Even in the first inning, he threw some balls in on some guys that really had good run-in. The balls on the plate, he left a couple over, but I thought he was getting much better. I think it’s coming.”
Lucas Duda drove in the Mets’ only run on a sacrifice fly to score Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. Murphy, who had two hits, led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on Jason Bay’s double. Bay was 1 for 10 going into the game.
Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran went 1 for 4 with a run scored facing his old team for the first time. Beltran, traded to the Giants by the Mets last July, made his spring debut in the field, playing six innings there after nursing a sore shoulder and sitting out with the flu.
Notes: Mets SS Ruben Tejada was scratched with a strained left groin. His backup, Ronny Cedeno, has tendinitis in his knees, and reliever D.J. Carrasco is nursing an ankle injury. Collins expressed his frustration with the mounting injuries. “You need an aspirin; you’re off for a day,” he said. “We’ve got three weeks from Wednesday; we’ve got a lot of time. I’m just getting tired of going in the training room, where I’ve got to sweat to see who can walk out of there.” . Cardinals 1B Lance Berkman has “general soreness,” and manager Mike Matheny does not expect him to play for a few days. SS Rafael Furcal (stiff neck) dressed for the bus trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla., but Matheny told him to stay back and wait another day.
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