03/23/08 4:10 PM ET
El Duque struggles in debut vs. Cards
Veteran right-hander allows five runs in three innings
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Sunday, March 23
Cardinals at the plate: After a four-pitch walk by Albert Pujols, Rick Ankiel hit the first pitch he saw from Mets starter Orlando Hernandez for a two-run home run in the third inning. A third run subsequently scored on a groundout by Yadier Moilina. Chris Duncan singled in two runs in the first inning.
Mets at the plate Ryan Church , facing right-hander Todd Wellemeyer, doubled home Carlos Delgado in the second inning for his first RBI of the spring. Delgado had doubled sharply to left and advanced to third on an infield out, running well on the double.
Cardinals on the mound:Wellemeyer, who is slated to open the season as the team's No. 2 starter, allowed two hits, two walks and a run in his four innings.
Mets on the mound: El Duque was, at best, underwhelming. His fastball topped out at 85 mph, and he threw merely 38 strikes among his 69 pitches. He was expected to pitch four or five innings but lasted only three, allowing five runs on four hits and two walks. He hit a batter and was behind most of the 16 hitters he faced.
Grapefruit League records: Mets 16-9-1, Cardinals 13-10-2
Up next for the Cardinals: The Cardinals make their last Grapefruit League road trip of the year on Monday, and it's a long one. They trek across the state to play the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., with Brad Thompson the scheduled starting pitcher. Pujols won't be on the trip, but Troy Glaus, Ankiel, Duncan and Colby Rasmus are all scheduled to go. The game begins at 12:05 p.m. CT.
Up next for the Mets: John Maine will make his sixth start of the spring Monday against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale in a 1:15 p.m. ET game. He has been the most impressive Mets starter in the camp, scouts and teammates agree.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.