After seven innings of futility at the plate, the Mets finally tagged a Boston pitcher for some runs in the eighth as they held on for a 4-2 victory.
New York had been held very quiet until they exploded for a four-run eighth inning, punctuated by center fielder Fernando Martinez’s three-run home run.
Heading into the top of the eighth, the Mets had only mustered three hits against John Lackey, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, and Daniel Bard combined. Of their three baserunners, only Gary Matthews had been as far as second base, and that came from a steal on Lackey.
But the Mets finally got to the Red Sox, by the way of Ramon Ramirez, who walked three and gave up two hits, including the blast from Martinez, who now has three dingers and 10 RBI this spring.
He's not going to win a starting job in the next few weeks, but he's making a serious case as to why he deserves to be on the club's 25-man roster. Right now, he's the only one swinging the bat, but he is certainly behind Angel Pagan and possibly behind Matthews on the outfield depth chart. With Beltran out until May or June, Martinez's best chance appears to be as a backup in centerfield.
New York actually pitched pretty well, but they looked anaemic at the plate without regulars David Wright, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur. I actually missed not even having a guy like Luis Castillo in the lineup. It was difficult trying to figure out where the offense was going to come from.
Mike Pelfrey, who picked up the loss against Boston six days ago, looked sharp for the second time this spring, allowing one run on four hits in four innings of work.
He gave up three runs on four hits last Thursday—even though he struck out four—and he got tagged for three runs on seven hits in a no-decision to the Nationals in his first start on March 6.
Pelfrey struck out Marco Scutaro and Kevin Youkilis utilizing his slider and off-speed pitches today, but he gave up a two-out RBI single to Dustin Pedroia. There was a very brief moment of worry when Jerry Manuel, pitching coach Dan Warthen, and the training staff rushed out to the mound to check on Pelfrey in the fourth inning, but it only appeared to be a blister.
While Pelfrey looks set to capture either the second or third spot in the New York rotation, the Mets defense still has work to do. On Pedroia’s base knock to left field, the Mets caught Josh Reddick in a run down but failed to record the out.
Angel Pagan threw the ball home to try and get Jeremy Hermida, but Alex Cora cut the ball off in the infield and had Reddick trapped between second and third. The run came home but the Mets were unable to tag Reddick out as he scampered back to second, despite Daniel Murphy covering from first.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Mets defense was almost caught cold again. With two outs and Hermida in a 1-2 hole, David Ortiz took off from first. Cora wasn’t paying any kind of attention, and Big Papi got such a big jump that even he would have stole the base standing up.
Fortunately for Cora, Pelfrey, and Santos, Hermida fouled the pitch off and Ortiz had to jog back to first, to the cheers of Red Sox Nation.
Ruben Tejada also booted a ground ball at second base, the Mets’ 19th error this spring. He will have to improve his defense if he's going to provide any value at shortstop until Jose Reyes returns.
The Mets have spring training games scheduled now for the next 17 days, including a pair of split squad games later this month. They will face the Marlins tomorrow before hosting the Twins at Tradition Field on Friday.