Santos' inside-the-park slam powers Mets

Santos' inside-the-park slam powers Mets

Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Sunday, March 7

Nationals at the plate: Mike Morse hit his second home run in two days, against Oliver Perez, in the first inning. Ian Desmond had two singles, the first driving in the first run in the three-run first. Alberto Gonzalez and Kevin Mench had doubles.

Mets at the plate: Omir Santos drove in four of the five runs the Mets scored in the second inning, hitting an inside-the-park grand slam that followed an RBI singled by Alex Cora. The ball Santos hit rolled into foul territory and under the fence. Left fielder Willy Taveras stopped his pursuit, looking for a ground-rule double call. None was forthcoming, and Santos who had all but stopped at third, scored. David Wright had a double. The Mets had two other hits, both singles.

Nationals on the mound: After a quite acceptable first, Jason Marquis allowed three walks to begin the second. They were followed by a single by Cora and Santos' slam. Matt Chico provided two scoreless innings. Matt Capps, a reliever the Mets had considered, allowed a run in the fifth.

Mets on the mound: On at least three occasions before Perez made his Spring Training debut, manager Jerry Manuel said he had thrown better than he had at any time in his 3 1/2 seasons with the Mets. It didn't translate to effective pitching Sunday. Perez's first three innings produced just a few satisfying elements -- no pain in his elbow and an uncharacteristically good strikeout-to-walk ratio, 2-1. But the bottom line, though essentially meaningless in exhibition games, was ugly. He allowed seven hits, a walk and five runs in three innings. In marked contrast was the work of the pitcher who followed him. Hisanori Takahashi struck out six in three innings. Three strikeouts came in the fourth, when he threw 10 pitches.

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Grapefruit League records: Nationals 0-5; Mets 5-2.

Worth noting: Jeff Francoeur threw out two Nationals baserunners at the plate, Mench to end the third and Pete Orr to end the eighth.

Up next: Scott Olsen is to make his first appearance of the spring Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET in the Nationals' split-squad game against the Marlins in Viera, Fla. Ricky Nolasco is to start for the Fish. The Marlins' other split-squad game is in Jupiter, Fla., against the Mets. Rick VandenHurk starts opposite John Maine, beginning at 1:05 p.m.

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