PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Even at a point in spring when pitchers tend to have a decided advantage, it hasn't taken long for the Mets' bats to warm. Yoenis Cespedes drove home his first Grapefruit League run on Sunday, Travis Taijeron singled in two more and the Mets held off the Braves, 7-5, at Tradition Field.
Cespedes' first RBI did not come on any sort of titanic blast; to the contrary, it was an infield grounder that plated Alejandro De Aza with the game's first run. Cespedes later reached on a run-scoring error, resulting in an unearned run off Braves starter Kyle Kendrick.
In his spring debut, Kendrick also gave up an RBI single to De Aza, allowing three total runs (two earned) in two innings.
Mets starter Sean Gilmartin fared better, scattering four singles over three scoreless innings. He struck out two and walked none. A key member of the 2015 bullpen, Gilmartin is stretching out as a starter this spring in an attempt to give the Mets rotation depth.
"As long as I'm able to contribute and help the club win, any position I'm in, I'll gladly take it and accept it," Gilmartin said. "Whatever role they want me to do, I'm going to try to exceed."
Unable to complete their comeback attempt, the Braves strung together six hits during a four-run rally against Chasen Bradford in the sixth inning, but Dansby Swanson grounded out with the tying runs on base.
Up next for the Braves: Aaron Blair, one of the principal prospects in this offseason's Shelby Miller trade, will start his second Grapefruit League game Monday against the Blue Jays. Blair struggled in his Braves debut last week, giving up four runs on two homers in two innings. He'll face R.A. Dickey in the 1:07 p.m. ET game, which will air on Gameday Audio.
Up next for the Mets: The Mets will begin using their regular starting pitchers Monday, with Bartolo Colon leading the home half of a split-squad contest against the Tigers and Steven Matz traveling to face the Cardinals. Colon will make his 2016 Grapefruit League debut opposite former Met Mike Pelfrey in a 1:10 p.m. ET game at Tradition Field, while Matz will face Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Roger Dean Stadium. Both games will air on MLB.TV. Later this week, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will also make their spring debuts.