PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Having properly put little emphasis on results in Spring Training games, the Mets started a lineup that probably resembles the one they will field on Opening Day on Friday, when they opposed a split-squad Cardinals team. And, yes, the results meant nothing. Neither team won, neither lost. The Mets scored twice in the seventh and twice again in the ninth. Final score: 5-5.
The Mets infielders performed poorly, their outfielders battled the sun and had lacking moments when the sun was not a factor. It was enough to stain the afternoon. But the late rally offset their defensive deficiencies.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez pitched three innings, allowing one hit. The Mets were no match for him. But they chipped away, scoring on home runs by Anthony Recker and Andrew Brown in the seventh. And they tied the score in the ninth on hits by Recker, Brown and Eric Campbell against Seth Maness.
This game had Eric Young in left, Chris Young in center and Curtis Granderson in right, and with the managers allowed to challenge calls, David Wright and Daniel Murphy played for the first time this spring. Wright was hitless in the three at-bats, and Murphy limped off the field after a slide at second base in the fifth. Neither the O-for nor the ankle twist made much difference. Nor did a challenge by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny in the top of the eighth.
Second-base umpire Chris Conroy called Cardinals runner Mike O'Neill out in an attempted steal of second base. Replays showed O'Neill had slid past the base and that he had been tagged out by Wilmer Flores. The umpires received word from a replay truck outside the park, and the call was upheld. No muss, no fuss.
The muss had come in the second inning with Daisuke Matsuzaka making his second appearance of the spring for the Mets. Matt Holliday had driven in a clean run for the defending National League champions in the first. Kolten Wong doubled in a run in the second after Granderson and Young misplayed fly balls and Ruben Tejada failed to make a play on a ground ball to shortstop. No error was charged.
And in the third, after John Lannan had replaced Matsuzaka, the Cardinals scored their third run on a double-play sacrifice fly.
Up next: After being slowed by a groin strain, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal is ready to make his spring debut, and he will do so Saturday, when the Cardinals host the Nationals in a 12:05 p.m. CT game at Roger Dean Stadium. Michael Wacha will start the game for St. Louis and should be pushed to a pitch count of about 50-55 in his second spring outing. Wacha continues to vie for a spot in the Cardinals' Opening Day rotation.