at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Sunday, March 25
Astros at the plate: Mike Lamb led the club with three hits and three RBIs. The visitors broke through for three runs in the third inning. Orlando Palmeiro opened with a single, went to second on Mark Loretta's walk and both scored on Lamb's double to right-center field. Lamb went to third on Morgan Ensberg's groundout and scored on a Mike Pelfrey wild pitch. Palmeiro led off the fifth with a double, raced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Lamb's sacrifice fly. The club added a run in the sixth inning and six in the seventh. Substitute catcher Eric Munson drove in two of the runs.
Mets at the plate: Jose Valentin's bases-loaded double opened the scoring for the Mets in the third inning. Paul Lo Duca had led off with a walk and moved to third on Moises Alou's double before Julio Franco walked. Valentin then hit a full-count pitch into left-center with two outs for two runs. Lastings Milledge then tied the game at 3 when his soft liner was muffed by Ensberg. Carlos Beltran was a late scratch because he felt ill.
Astros on the mound: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez lasted just three innings after a 38-pitch third inning in which the Mets hit through their lineup and scored three runs, one of them unearned. After stranding two runners in the second, Rodriguez got two quick outs in the third. But then he gave up a walk, a double, another walk and another double. Ensberg's error cost him the third run. After a pitch to the ninth batter of the inning, Rodriguez came off the mound gingerly with an apparent leg injury but eventually stayed in the game. He batted in the fourth, but did not come back to pitch.
Mets on the mound: Pelfrey, seeking to lock up the fifth spot in the starting rotation, had a forgettable outing. He lasted five innings, giving up six hits and four runs. Pelfrey threw 84 pitches, then added 15 more in bullpen work to finish his day. He was disappointed that a changeup he threw to Lamb with two on in the third inning stayed high and Lamb stroked it for a two-run double. Pelfrey later allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the 32-pitch inning, then gave up another run in the fifth. The game was close until the seventh, when troubled reliever Jorge Sosa came on and struggled. The Astros struck for six runs off him to turn the game into a rout.
Grapefruit League records: Mets 9-18-1; Astros 14-9
Up next: The Mets play the Dodgers on Monday night at Tradition Field at 7:10 p.m. ET. Veteran left-hander Tom Glavine will get his final start of the spring in anticipation of the season opener April 1.
The Astros will host the Braves in Kissimmee, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET, with veteran right-hander Woody Williams slated to start.
Charlie Nobles is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less