Easley comes through late to lift Mets

Easley comes through late to lift Mets

in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Friday, March 23

Cardinals at the plate: Scott Spiezio -- isn't it always Scott Spiezio? -- drove in the Cardinals' first and only run with a double in the first inning.

Mets at the plate: Damion Easley hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning. David Newhan had the lone hit against Matt Ginter, leading off the first inning. The next hits, singles by Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Beltran, produced a run in the sixth.

Cardinals on the mound: Ginter, who has pitched merely 35 innings in the big leagues since being traded by the Mets on April 2, 2005, allowed a hit and a walk in four innings. He retired his last 10 batters. Braden Looper was initially slated to start, but the Cardinals preferred not to expose him to the Mets so close to the season-opening series.

Mets on the mound: Orlando Hernandez, who had pitched merely six innings, made his third appearance of the spring, allowing one run -- unearned -- in six innings. He allowed three hits and three walks and struck out five. His pitches in the early innings were up, but he brought them down and threw his offspeed pitches effectively in the sixth. Jon Adkins improved his chance of winning a place on the roster with his second straight scoreless outing, pitching the seventh.

Grapefruit League records: Cardinals 11-9; Mets 9-15-1.

Up next: The Mets' final split-squad games are Saturday. They play at home against the Orioles at 1:10 p.m. ET and in Jupiter against the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Chan Ho Park starts against the Orioles, opposite Hayden Penn. John Maine starts against the Marlins. Scott Olsen is the Marlins' starter.

The Cardinals play the Nationals in Viera on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT, with Kip Wells starting. The Nationals' starter is Shawn Hill.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.