at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Wednesday, March 24
Astros at the plate: Carlos Lee, Jeff Keppinger and Chris Johnson had two hits each. One of Johnson's was his fourth home run, against Johan Santana.
Mets at the plate: Daniel Murphy, hitting from his more upright stance, hit his second home run, against left-hander Tim Byrdak in the sixth inning with a man on base to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. He also singled. Singles by Alex Cora and Rod Barajas were the Mets' only other hits in the first six innings. New York scored twice on errors in the seventh.
Astros on the mound: Casey Daigle made his first start of the spring after four relief appearances. He allowed an unearned run, one single and no walks in four innings before being replaced by one-time Mets prospect Matt Lindstrom.
Mets on the mound: Santana's fourth start -- 5 2/3 innings -- put his exhibition game innings total at 14 2/3. He allowed two runs on eight hits against the Astros. The first run scored on a well-struck home run by third-base hopeful Johnson. Santana was followed by Jon Niese, the likely No. 5 starter whose previous appearance, also against the Astros, was limited to one inning because of rain. He now has two relief appearances and four starts. Niese pitched two scoreless frames, yielding two hits while fanning a pair. Frankie Rodriguez came on for the save, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Grapefruit League records: Astros 11-9, Mets 12-9.
Up next: The Astros travel to Clearwater, Fla., to play the Phillies on Thursday afternoon at 1:05 ET. Brett Myers, who has won three decision this spring, is to start opposite Kyle Kendrick, who has a 1.29 ERA.
The Mets travel as well, playing the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. in a game that will be streamed live on MLB.TV. John Maine is to make his fourth start, and Chris Carpenter is to start for the Redbirds.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.