Cantu powers Marlins past Mets
Third baseman notches three doubles, drives in five runs
MARLINS (ss) 12, METS (ss) 4
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Saturday, March 8
Marlins at the plate: Florida's early offensive outburst revolved almost completely around third baseman Jorge Cantu, who hit three doubles in his first three at-bats and drove in five runs. Right fielder Brett Carroll also provided some pop, drilling a two-run homer in the third inning and knocking in three runs in all.
Mets at the plate: Brian Schneider's line-drive homer in the second inning gave the Mets an early run, though it did little to offset Florida's offensive clinic. Right fielder Ryan Church, playing his first game since suffering a Grade 2 concussion last week, collected two singles in his only two at-bats. And in his first game of the spring, utility man Damion Easley hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
Marlins on the mound: Though the Mets put runners on base in each of starter Chris Volstad's three innings, only Schneider's homer affected his bottom line -- three innings and one earned run. Renyel Pinto and Taylor Tankersley each pitched a scoreless inning of relief, combining to strike out three of the eight batters they faced.
Mets on the mound: Command struggles -- not to mention stiff winds -- undermined Mike Pelfrey all afternoon. Battling for the fifth starter's role, Pelfrey allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings, walking four and hitting a batter. Scott Schoeneweis followed with 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, though not before allowing all three of his inherited runners to score. More impressive was the work of Duaner Sanchez, who breezed through one inning after a week of rest.
Grapefruit League records: Marlins 9-4-1; Mets 6-4-0
Up next: Ricky Nolasco's push for a rotation spot continues on Sunday, when the Marlins head back to Roger Dean Stadium for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. Nolasco has pitched five scoreless innings over two spring starts, after spending most of last year battling a right elbow injury. He'll face Orioles lefthander Adam Loewen on Sunday.
Slowly, a healthy Mets roster is coming. Second baseman Jose Valentin, out since last July with a partially torn ACL in his right knee, is penciled into the lineup on Sunday, when the Mets host the Astros at Tradition Field. John Maine is set to start for the Mets in the 1:10 p.m. game, with relievers Billy Wagner and Aaron Heilman to follow. The Astros will counter with right-hander Jack Cassel.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.