The Cardinals' starting lineup included marquee names like; Albert Pujols, Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan and Yadier Molina, but it was the supporting cast of Jarrett Hoffpauir (2B), Allen Craig (3B) and Jon Jay (DH-LF), who provided the offense to propel the Cardinals to their first win of the spring.
Craig was 2-for-2 and Hoffpauir had two hits in three at-bats, while Jon Jay scored three runs and drove in one with a pair of hits for the Redbirds. The Cardinals' top prospect Colby Rasmus and their new apparent second baseman, converted outfielder Skip Schumaker each had an RBI to contribute to the winning cause.
St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer gave up three runs on four hits in his two innings of work, before the bullpen stopped the New York offense in their tracks until the eighth inning. Relievers Josh Kinney, Jason Motte, P.J. Walters and Trever Miller combined for five shutout innings of relief, paving the way for the Cardinals to eventually take home a much needed first win.
Adam Ottavino and Royce Ring both struggled out of the bullpen, on the mound, with Ottavino giving up three runs in the eighth and leaving the game in the ninth after he failed to retire the first two batters. Ring allowed both of the runners he inherited to score, as he gave up two runs, (one earned), on four hits and no walks before getting the last out to escape further damage.
The Cardinals are giving Colby Rasmus every opportunity to prove he deserves to be on the team's 25-man roster when they break from spring training. For the second time in three games, Rasmus went the distance Friday, with little to show for his efforts. He went 0-for-five , stranding four runners, and committed an error in right field, just getting his glove on a ball hit over his head in right.
Rasmus is tied with Chris Duffey of the Milwaukee Brewers, as they lead the majors with 12 at-bats, through the first three spring training games. Rasmus is hitting just .167 (2-for-12) after his first three games and 12 at-bats.
Bullpen – Jason Motte continues to be very impressive this spring. I've thrown my support behind him to be at least part of the closer equation if the Cardinals decide to go with the bullpen-by-committee approach.
Second base – Skip Schumaker is going to be the Cardinals second basemen when the season begins. Brendan Ryan is sidelined with a wrist injury and his position on the team as a utility infielder could even be in jeopardy, depending on how well his wrist responds to treatment over the next two weeks.
Third base – David Freese was the favorite son in terms of replacing the injured Troy Glaus for the first month, maybe longer into the season, before he's been sidelined with problems with his left Achilles that is the result of a weather-related car accident in January. Joe Mather started games one and two at third with Joe Thurston starting game three. Brian Barden and Tyler Greene also played third as subs this week. Early advantage Mather.
Bullpen - Royce Ring's stock up slightly.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
11 – The Cardinals scored nine runs Friday to defeat the New York Mets, despite leaving 11 runners on the bases.
The Cardinals return home to Roger Dean Stadium Saturday to face the Washington Nationals, with Chris Carpenter taking the mound for the Redbirds with his 2009 Grapefruit League debut. Also scheduled to pitch in Saturday's contest; Fernando Salas, Ryan Franklin and lefthander Katsuhiko Maekawa. Game time 12:05 CT
You can listen to the game on KTRS the Big 550 and many of the stations on the St. Louis Cardinals radio network.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Infielders David Freese and Brendan Ryan are "improving slightly" from injuries and will both be out for several more days, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said on Friday, according to a report on the team's official website.
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