Pagan, Penny and Motte in Port St. Lucie
As the Mets entertained the Cardinals on Monday, Angel Pagan was the hero. His two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Mets to a 6-5 victory. It was his first long ball of the spring. Though he is batting just .238 this month, Pagan should have early season value in NL leagues as the interim centerfielder for ailing Carlos Beltran and is expected to lead off to boot.
Cardinals starter Brad Penny, experimenting with Dave Duncan’s specialty, the two-seam fastball, apparently didn’t get enough sink on Monday. He was hit hard and often early on – literally. Both Jason Bay and Fernando Martinez blasted shots off Penny’s arm and leg, respectively. After allowing two runs on four hits in the first inning, Penny settled down a bit, yielding just two additional hits and a run in his 3 2/3 innings of work.
Last year’s opening day closer Jason Motte worked himself into a bases-loaded jam in the eighth but got out of the mess unscathed. He, Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth seem to be in a battle to set up Ryan Franklin and become the Cardinals closer in waiting.
K-Rod made his spring debut and did his job against the Cardinals in the ninth, picking up the win.
Albert Pujols will play Tuesday as well, as he comes back from back soreness. Matt Holliday (oblique) remains out indefinitely and Julio Lugo will miss as much as a week due to a strained groin.