After the 11-1 drubbing the Mets received at the hands of the Marlins on Monday at Tradition Field, they traveled to Jupiter today to play the Cardinals and after a back and forth game, the Mets out-clubbed the Cardinals 9-8.
The Mets improved their Spring record to 5-6 and the Cardinals dropped to 2-7.
Two of the major story lines in the game were the spring debut of Jonathan Niese on the mound and top prospect Wilmer Flores starting at shortstop.
Niese didn’t fair well in his first start and was roughed up in his two innings of work, allowing four runs on six hits including a two run homer to Kolten Wong. Niese walked two and didn’t register a strikeout.
“I’m not 100 percent as far as where I want to be pitching-wise,” Niese said. “Some of the pitches, obviously I’m not really consistent right now.”
Jose Valverde, who tossed one inning, gave up three hits and the big one, a two-run double to Daniel Descalso which put the Cardinals back up 7-6 in the fifth inning.
Vic Black pitching in his fourth game without giving up a run, continued his streak and tossed an inning, giving up two hits with three strikeouts.
Leading off for the second game in a row, Eric Young Jr was 1 for 3, with a run scored and a RBI.
Juan Lagares, the Mets human highlight reel, made a great diving catch coming in on a ball in center field to take a hit away. Don Juan also went 1 for 5 with a run scored.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who is making a strong bid to break camp with the Mets, hit a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to temporarily put the Mets in the lead 6-5. He finished the game 1 for 5 with three RBI, and he struck out twice.
Wilmer Flores went 2 for 3 with a double, two runs scored and a walk. He had a so-so day in the field but held his own.
Omar Quintanilla, came into the game hitless and had his best performance of the spring, going 3 for 4, with a run scored and two RBI.
Zach Lutz hit his second home run of the spring in the top of the ninth, to put the Mets back on top to stay 9-8.
Coming up: The Mets will return to Tradition Field to take on the visiting the St. Louis Cardinals, on Wednesday with first pitch at 1:10 pm.