Kozma hits slam, leads Cardinals over Mets

March 26, 2013

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Adam Wainwright got the final tuneup he was hoping for while Jeremy Hefner had to make an abrupt exit.

Wainwright, set to start on opening day for St. Louis, pitched six strong innings as the Cardinals topped the New York Mets 11-4 on Tuesday.

Pete Kozma hit a grand slam and Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals.

"Early I was a little jumpy and I tried to make adjustments from there and let it come out naturally, didn't try to create any extra velocity there, I just tried to pitch," Wainwright said.

"I know that when the lights turn on - the big league excitement - I'll have to battle that same thing and the ball will be coming out probably a little hotter, so it was a good practice really," he said.

The Cardinals open Monday at Arizona.

Wainwright allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked one.

Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist gave Wainwright the option to come out of the game after the fifth. Wainwright wanted to throw more than the 85 pitches he had up to that point.

"I really wanted to get in the 90s today," said Wainwright, who threw 97 pitches. "I want to be comfortable going into the 100-pitch count range going into that first day and I think now I definitely will be."

Mets starter Jeremy Hefner received a scare in the top of the fourth when he was hit on his pitching elbow by a one-hopper off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

Hefner immediately left the game with a bruised right elbow. X-rays were negative and he was listed as day-to-day.

Hefner had given up two runs and five hits in the first three innings.

Mets manager Terry Collins said Hefner will be the team's No. 4 starter behind Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee, and that the final spot is a question mark.

"Well, we've got to figure out not only who the fifth starter is and where do we set him up, where is he going to fit," Collins said. "We're going to go with four guys in the first five days because we don't need a fifth starter until (April) 7th, so we have to figure out where he fits best and who he is."

Jon Jay had three hits and Rob Johnson had a two-run homer.

Lucas Duda drove in all four Mets runs with a homer, double and single.

Mets 3B David Wright (strained intercostal muscle) played in his first minor league game since returning from the World Baseball Classic. He went 1 for 5 and scored a run against Cardinals' Triple-A and Double-A pitchers. ... LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the Cardinals' lineup just before the game due to tightness in his left side. ... Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano has agreed to remain in the organization and will start the season in the minor leagues. ... Mets CF prospect Matt den Dekker was diagnosed with a fractured right wrist and will be in a cast for six weeks.