03/19/08 9:45 PM ET
Mets' Maine attraction stars in win
Starter allows one run and fans seven in 5 2/3 innings
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Wednesday, March 19
Indians at the plate: Left fielder Jason Michaels appeared to spark the Indians with a solo homer in the first inning, but the team could muster little else off Mets starter John Maine. Few Indians regulars made the two-hour trip east to Port St. Lucie, though Asdrubal Cabrera and Victor Martinez each racked up two hits.
Mets at the plate: While regular catcher Brian Schneider and primary backup Ramon Castro both sat on the bench with injuries, Raul Casanova made the most of his opportunity, finishing with two hits and an RBI. Damion Easley put the Mets in the lead for the first time when he scored on an error. Infielder Ruben Gotay, making his first appearance back since spraining his right ankle, struck out in his only at-bat.
Indians on the mound: Aaron Laffey quieted the Mets for five innings, holding them to one run in his strongest Grapefruit League outing to date. Laffey allowed five hits, striking out one batter and walking another. Jeremy Sowers took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) in three innings.
Mets on the mound: Relying on an improved changeup, Maine struck out seven Indians over 5 2/3 innings, limiting them to a single run. Reliever Joe Smith, struggling this spring but still hoping to earn a roster spot, entered the game with two men on base and struck out the only batter he faced. Right-hander Aaron Heilman pitched in and out of a jam in the seventh, striking out three batters.
Grapefruit League records: Indians 9-12-1, Mets 14-7-1
Up next for the Indians: Coming off two disappointing Grapefruit League outings, Paul Byrd will look to improve on Thursday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Rays. Also scheduled to pitch for the Indians are relievers Masa Kobayashi, Tom Mastny, Rafael Perez and Jorge Julio. Right-hander Jason Hammel will start for the Rays.
Up next for the Mets: Continuing his effort to be ready for Opening Day, setup man Duaner Sanchez will attempt to pitch on Thursday for the second time in three games. He'll follow Johan Santana in a 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Orioles, which is also scheduled to feature bullpen cogs Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano. Right-hander Jon Leicester will start for the Orioles.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.