Mets edged by Orioles

Mets edged by Orioles

ORIOLES (ss) 2, METS (ss) 1
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Saturday, March 24

Orioles at the plate: Baltimore only brought two regulars, Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff, which made it more unlikely that it would solve the Mets' pitching. Adam Stern got the visitors' first hit, a single in the fourth, and then left fielder Jon Knott, trying to escape Triple-A, broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with a home run. The 28-year-old Knott had 32 home runs at Triple-A last season. The Orioles added an unearned run in the eighth.

Mets at the plate: Three innings into the game, four Mets had walked but none had gotten a hit and none scored. Carlos Beltran grounded out to second base on a full-count pitch with the bases loaded in the third. Paul Lo Duca produced the club's first hit, a single, in the fourth. The Mets finally scored a run, unearned, in the eighth. David Wright stood out on this day with a hit and two walks.

Orioles on the mound: Right-hander Hayden Penn exhibited a wide-breaking curveball in shutting out the Mets for four innings. Penn allowed four walks, including three in the third inning, and one hit. He struck out none. Kurt Birkins then struck out three in two scoreless innings.

Mets on the mound: Chan Ho Park, who has had a rough spring, changed form radically in this game. He pitched three perfect innings, requiring just 27 pitches. He struck out two, and he was told afterward to be ready to pitch Monday, likely meaning he is now seen as a long-reliever candidate along with Aaron Sele. Joe Smith, with an unorthodox sidearm delivery, struck out two and allowed a hit in a scoreless inning. Pedro Feliciano allowed his first run of the spring in 11 innings. Troubled relievers Ambiorix Burgos and Jorge Sosa each pitched an inning, with Sosa allowing an unearned run.

Grapefruit League records: Mets 9-16-1; Orioles 12-10.

Up next: The Mets play the Astros on Sunday at Tradition Field at 1:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey will start for the Mets. Closer Billy Wagner also will pitch in the game. The Orioles will send veteran Jaret Wright against St. Louis on Sunday in Jupiter at 1:05 p.m. Anthony Reyes will start for the Cardinals.

Charlie Nobles is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.