PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jerry Manuel saw several positive developments in Mike Pelfrey's latest start -- that doesn't mean the Mets manager didn't see the bad, too.
Pelfrey gave up consecutive homers to Colby Rasmus and Ryan Ludwick in a three-run third inning and another home run to Albert Pujols in the fifth, and the St. Louis Cardinals used a 19-hit attack to beat New York 10-5 Sunday."He's got to get the ball down and work more in," Manuel said. "He had a pretty good slider and split and sinker. His location has to be better and he has to keep it down."But I think he did some good things," Manuel said.The right-hander allowed six runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Pelfrey tossed 104 pitches in his longest spring outing.Pelfrey was effective through two scoreless innings before St. Louis struck for three in the second.Then Rasmus hit an opposite-field, wind-aided homer that bounced off the light tower in left field for a 2-0 lead. Ludwick, the next batter, connected on the 12th pitch of his at-bat on a towering shot that landed beyond a party tent behind the left field fence.Pujols added a homer to straightaway center field two innings later for a 4-2 St. Louis lead."The home runs were four-seam fastballs. I'm not too worried about it," Pelfrey said. "Those pitches aren't used to get groundballs. My secondary stuff was good and I got to my pitch count."Pelfrey said he used his hard, sinking fastball to get outs in the first two innings, then turned to the four-seam and split-finger pitches the rest of the game."I'm using a lot more secondary stuff and trying to get comfortable with it. And I threw some of those pitches behind in the count. Looking back on today, the one thing I didn't do was come inside enough," he said. "It was a good day."The 26-year-old pitcher said he wouldn't put too much stock in the results."In 2007 I had my best Spring ever and made the team, then I wound up going 0-7 in the regular season," he said.Nick Stavinoha homered off Ryota Igarashi in the seventh.Angel Pagan and Frank Catalanotto each hit two-run homers for New York.Making his fifth spring start, Kyle Lohse worked 5 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two runs. He also had an RBI single.
Ludwick left the game after hitting in the third inning. He fouled two balls off his shin. ... Mets 1B Daniel Murphy finished 0 for 4 after he was robbed of potential hits by three outstanding defensive plays -- two of them diving. ... Manuel said the final bench spot on the team "is too close to call" and would depend on how the rest of the team is made up. ... Manuel also stressed that whoever wins the starting center field position -- Gary Matthews Jr. or Angel Pagan -- would force the other to find reps elsewhere.