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Mike Pelfrey has best spring showing as Mets prevail

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey pronounced himself ready to start on Opening Day. Pitched that way, too.

Pelfrey gave his strongest performance of the exhibition season, helping the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 Saturday.

Pelfrey, who will start the opener at Florida, allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings and struck out four.

"I thought today was by far the best outing of the spring," Pelfrey said. "I thought the fastball velocity got to where it needed to be. It felt like the ball was jumping out of my hand. I threw a lot of 3-2 sliders, a couple for strikeouts. I walked a guy on a 3-2 slider."

"Overall, I thought the sinker was better. The sinker was good today. I feel like I'm right where I need to be get going," he said.

Pelfrey said he tweaked the delivery of his sinker since his last start, when he gave up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves on Monday.

"I started turning my wrist over on my own and had a lot better action today and had a lot of ground balls. The one inning where I gave up two runs -- the second inning -- mechanically, I felt I was pulling the ball a little bit. I thought I was able to make an adjustment to get back on line and I feel good about it."

Pelfrey said he tweaked the delivery of his sinker since his last start, when he allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Braves on Monday.

Derek Lowe, who will start the Braves' opener on Thursday at Washington, gave up six runs and seven hits in four innings. Two of the runs were unearned, and Atlanta committed five errors overall. Brooks Conrad, who had fielding problems in the playoffs last year, had trouble on grounders at third base and first base.

Lowe came into the game with a 1.86 ERA this spring. He walked three and didn't have any strikeouts.

"Spring's been good," Lowe said. "It was not obviously very good today. It really wasn't much positive about it, but we threw the 70 pitches that we wanted to throw. "It was going good up until today. We face these guys a lot. They hit me pretty good. You forget about it. You get ready for your opening start. You take your beating today and you move on to Thursday."