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Harvey caps impressive spring with strong start

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets backed Matt Harvey with a four-run fourth inning and went on to beat Jake Westbrook and the Cardinals, 7-2, on Friday afternoon at Tradition Field.

In their last Grapefruit League game in Port St. Lucie, the Mets got four shutout innings from Harvey, who struck out four, walked two and allowed three hits. He ended the spring with a sharp 2.96 ERA, with his eyes on his first start of the regular season.

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"Going in, obviously I wanted to go as long as I could and try to push five, six innings, but they told me after four I was done," Harvey said. "But this is an exciting time for me. I got done and I'm definitely looking forward to Wednesday. I couldn't be more happy with this spring and how it went."

Westbrook kept the Mets at bay until the fourth, when Ike Davis walked to lead off the inning and Marlon Byrd doubled the following at-bat. After a Lucas Duda strikeout and a John Buck walk, No. 8 hitter Ruben Tejada doubled to left field to score two.

Buck was thrown out rounding third, but Collin Cowgill -- pinch-hitting for Harvey at the bottom of the order -- then made it a 4-0 ballgame with a two-run homer to left field.

Cowgill is 20-for-63 (.317) in 25 games this spring with five homers and 10 RBIs.

Westbrook was done after allowing the four runs in four innings, giving up five hits and walking four. He struck out two. The Cardinals scored twice in the top of the fifth -- the first two runs that Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins has allowed this spring -- when Adron Chambers drove in Ryan Jackson and Shane Robinson with a double to right field.

The Mets scored three more runs off the Cardinals' bullpen in the fifth to make it 7-2.

Jon Jay had a single and a double for the Cardinals. In his second Grapefruit League game of the spring, New York's Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4 with a run.

Up next: The Mets will wrap up the Grapefruit League season on Saturday with a trip to Sarasota to take on the Orioles at 12:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Dillon Gee will get the start for New York, looking to improve on his 1-1 mark this spring. The game will be broadcast on WFAN 660 AM in New York.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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