JUPITER, Fla. — Starters John Lackey and Matt Harvey both pitched well Friday as the split-squad St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 5-4 Friday.
Lackey gave up one run and six hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out one. He needed only 84 pitches in the longest outing by a St. Louis pitcher this spring.
The Mets pressured Lackey in the seventh when Michael Cuddyer’s double put runners on second and third with one out. Wilmer Flores had an RBI groundout and Lackey struck out Travis d’Arnaud.
"I was happy that I had a little extra gear once they got to second and third — kind of minimize that inning," Lackey said. "That was a good sign. I made some good pitches to only give up one run. That was nice to still have a little in the tank that late."
Pitching on his 26th birthday, Harvey allowed one run and three hits in 4 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking none.
Harvey missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery. The All-Star threw 58 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
"I think with the increased workload of 80 pitches today — I don’t know what they’re going to do about next week — that’s pretty much on schedule as much as everybody else is," Harvey said. "That’s definitely a nice feeling. I feel like I’m definitely ready for the start of the year."
Rafael Ortega hit his first two home runs this spring, a solo shot in the sixth and a three-run drive in the eighth. He had been sent to the minor league camp earlier this week.
Peter Bourjos led off the St. Louis first with a double and scored on Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly.
Mets: Harvey’s parents came to South Florida for his birthday. The young right-hander said the celebration would be low key. "We are going to just hang out watch some basketball," he said.
Cardinals: Lackey didn’t take the bat off his shoulder when he faced Harvey in the third inning but did find time to joke with plate umpire Sean Barber and Mets catcher d’Arnaud. "I think the second strike I told the umpire, `Great call.’ The third one that he missed with I was like, `He could have thrown that down the middle, I wasn’t swinging.’ I got a couple of them to laugh a little bit."
LIGHT THE CANDLES
Harvey was one of four in Mets camp celebrating their birthdays on Friday, joining Michael Cuddyer (36), Johnny Monell (29) and minor leaguer Brandon Nimmo (22). New York announced that is a franchise record for the amount of birthdays on one day of camp.
Mets: Manager Terry Collins is worried that 2B Daniel Murphy’s ailing hamstring could jeopardize his ability to be ready for the start of the season. Collins wants to get Murphy into games to build up leg strength before using him in a regular season game. He’s considering leaving Murphy in Port St. Lucie when the Mets travel to Texas for exhibition games against the Rangers the weekend prior to the start of the season.
"I’m getting a little concerned that he’s not going to have enough time," Collins said.
Rain delayed the start of the game 26 minutes. For the Cardinals, it was the second consecutive day weather delayed a game.