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Mets 5, Cards 4: Kirk Nieuwenhuis ends game with arm

3/20/2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis threw out a runner at the plate for the final out, and the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, Friday at Tradition Field.

Michael Cuddyer produced a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth and Curtis Granderson went 3-for-3 with two RBIs as the Mets (10-8) won their fourth straight.

Bartolo Colon limited St. Louis to two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He logged 72 pitches.

Jenrry Mejia survived for another save, much in the style of last year’s tightrope walks as the closer.

With the Mets leading by a run in the ninth, Mejia entered and surrendered a leadoff double to ex-Yankee Dean Anna. C.J. McElroy pinch ran and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. He then attempted to score on a shallow ball to left field.

Nieuwenhuis completed the game-ending play to catcher Kevin Plawecki.

“I figured he was a pinch-runner, so he’s probably pretty fast, so he’d probably test me,” Nieuwenhuis said.

Cuddyer, who gave the Mets the decisive lead with a two-run homer against right-hander Sam Tuivailala, now has a team-leading four Grapefruit League homers.

“Obviously it is just spring training, but anytime you step out on the field you want to do well and you want to compete,” Cuddyer said.

That’s the kind of offensive punch manager Terry Collins hoped the Mets would get after signing Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal.

“When we went after him, it was the power potential,” Collins said. “We don’t play in the [hitter-friendly] park he’s been playing in, but he still has real good power. He brings a huge presence in our lineup, because he can hit. That, first and foremost, was what we were looking for.”

The lone damage against Colon came on Scott Moore's two-run homer in the fourth inning.

“I had the best location I had all spring,” Colon said through a team spokesman.

Carlos Torres surrendered three straight sixth-inning hits, capped by an RBI single by Stephen Piscotty, as St. Louis evened the score at 3. Erik Goeddel replaced Torres with two Cardinals on base and surrendered an RBI single to Pete Kozma as the Cardinals took the lead.

Granderson twice went to left field during his 3-for-3 day. He also had homered to the opposite field on Thursday against Houston Astros right-hander Collin McHugh.

That’s a good sign, Collins suggested, because using the whole field should prevent teams from overshifting against the lefty-hitting Granderson.

“We’ve got to get them out of the shift when he’s up,” Collins said. “We’ve told him time and again, home runs are going to come. He’s going to get his pitches and he’s going to drive some balls. But if he opens up that field, you’re going to see a big difference in a guy who gets on base.”

Granderson insisted he actually uses the whole field more than he gets credit. He suggested that his home runs as a Yankee were primarily to right field because the short porch was there. He added that he hit plenty of balls elsewhere in the ballpark, but those went relatively unnoticed because they did not clear the outfield wall.

Granderson said he has been working with hitting coach Kevin Long to be in the proper hitting position to go to the opposite field on opportune pitches.

“It’s funny, I go to Yankee Stadium and everyone all of a sudden started calling me a pull hitter,” Granderson said. “That’s not exactly what happened. Balls that were doubles and triples ended up going out of the ballpark there, and they happened to be to that [right] side of the field. I still hit some balls to the other side of the field as well. I hit some home runs to the other side of the field. It’s just a matter of the dimensions obviously change what happens to your stats.

“When I played at Comerica [as a Tiger], I had a lot of balls to the pull side of the field. But I wasn’t called a pull hitter then. I go to Yankee Stadium and hit the same amount of balls to the same side of the field. And now I’m called a pull hitter because they go out of the ballpark.”

What’s next: Prospect Steven Matz faces the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland at 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday (WOR 710 AM). He opposes left-hander David Price. Noah Syndergaard originally had been slated for that start, but instead was sent to minor league camp.

Bobby Parnell is due to pitch in a minor league game Saturday. That would mark his first game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April 8. Vic Black (shoulder) also is due to resume throwing on flat ground after completing anti-inflammatory medication.