PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Baxter lost a fly ball in the sun in right field, resulting in Matt Holliday reaching second base with what was ruled an eighth-inning double. And when Allen Craig followed with an RBI single against Brandon Lyon, the St. Louis Cardinals had the decisive run in a 3-2 victory against the Mets on Thursday afternoon at Tradition Field.
The Mets’ two runs came when Matt den Dekker delivered a two-run triple for the second straight day, this time against Adam Wainwright in the fourth.
New York Mets
ANKLE TURN: For the first time since spraining his right ankle Saturday, Justin Turner reappeared in a game. Two games, actually.
Turner had three at-bats in a minor league game, then delivered a pinch-hit single in the Grapefruit League contest.
Turner passed a pair of tests as far as his ankle. He doubled and scored from second in the minor league game, then went first-to-third on a single by Marlon Byrd while facing St. Louis.
“I didn’t feel it at all,” Turner said.
Turner and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (knee bruise) both are slated to again play in a minor league game Friday.
Nieuwenhuis went 1-for-2 with three walks but did not play the field Thursday against the Triple-A Springfield Cardinals.
Daniel Murphy (side) is not yet ready to enter a minor league game.
HEFTY PERFORMANCE: Jeremy Hefner, the rotation plug for Johan Santana, allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in five innings. He surrendered a fourth-inning solo homer to David Freese.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I’d like to be today,” Hefner said. “They’re a real aggressive team, so I tried to throw a few more offspeed pitches early in the count. And that kind of got me behind in the count because I wasn’t getting them over for strikes.”
OPPORTUNITIES LOST: The Mets had runners in scoring position in three consecutive innings and failed to score.
After Randy Choate loaded the bases in the fifth on singles by Ike Davis and Zach Lutz and by plunking Lucas Duda with a pitch, Seth Maness entered and coaxed a well-hit flyout to center from John Buck.
An inning later, Ruben Tejada stranded runners at the corners with a pop-out to shortstop. Tejada went 0-for-4, dropping his Grapefruit League batting average to .100 (4-for-40).
In the seventh, den Dekker had a 3-0 count but ultimately struck out to strand two. Den Dekker had two strikeouts in the game, giving him 16 Ks in 41 spring-training at-bats, along with a .220 average.
Duda went 2-for-2 against Wainwright. Since opening Grapefruit League play 0-for-7 with six strikeouts, Duda is hitting .306.