Gee looks strong early, struggles late vs. Cards

Gee looks strong early, struggles late vs. Cards

Gee looks strong early, struggles late vs. Cards
JUPITER, Fla. -- Even assisting with the bat, Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse led the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Mets in what was the right-hander's last outing before he takes the mound as the team's Opening Day starter. Friday's matchup was the final spring meeting between these two clubs, which played six times during the Grapefruit League season.

Lohse broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out RBI single off Mets starter Dillon Gee in the fourth. It was one of two runs the Cardinals scored in the frame off Gee, who pitched six innings in his fifth spring start. An RBI single by Yadier Molina earlier in the inning plated St. Louis' first run of the afternoon.

Matt Carpenter, who is in line to win a bench job with the Cardinals, stung Gee with a solo homer in the sixth. The home run was the third allowed by the Mets' right-hander this spring. The inning further unraveled for Gee, who also allowed an RBI double to Minor Leaguer Adam Melker.

In all, Gee allowed 10 hits. He had given up just 12 in his first four spring games (14 2/3 innings) combined.

Lohse's performance was his best of the spring. He limited the Mets to three hits and an unearned run that scored on Lohse's third-inning fielding error. On the play, Omar Quintanilla's comebacker struck Lohse in the right hand, and a run scored when Lohse couldn't immediately locate the ball.

Lohse stayed in the game after a brief check by the trainer and went on to retire 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. He didn't allow another batter to reach second in the 85-pitch outing. Lohse struck out a spring-high seven and walked one.

New York knocked around Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas to close the deficit to one run in the eighth. Salas faced four batters and didn't retire one of them. Matt Tuiasosopo and Vinny Rottino had RBI hits in the inning. Victor Marte relieved Salas and preserved the lead by stranding both inherited runners.

Up next: With Johan Santana throwing a side session back at Port St. Lucie, Fla., Miguel Batista will start the Mets' 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Marlins in Jupiter. Batista, a long shot to make the team when Spring Training began, now projects as a long man in the Mets' Opening Day bullpen. He will start on Saturday against left-hander Mark Buehrle.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.