03/24/11 4:04 PM ET
Evans, five homers propel Mets' rout
Wright, Pagan, Emaus, Thole and Den Dekker go deep
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
Evans singled, doubled and scored twice during an eight-run rally in the fourth inning Thursday, leading the Mets to a 16-3 victory over the Cardinals at Digital Domain Park.
Doubling off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia to lead off the fourth, Evans moved to third base on Scott Hairston's flyout and scored on Ronny Paulino's sacrifice fly. Nine consecutive Mets then reached base with two outs off Garcia, highlighted by Angel Pagan's three-run homer and Evans' second hit of the inning.
Fighting for the team's final bench spot, Evans -- who finished 3-for-4 to raise his spring average to .339 -- may break camp as a utility man if right fielder Carlos Beltran starts the regular season on the disabled list. But if Beltran is healthy, the Mets may have no room for Evans, who is out of Minor League options and would be exposed to other clubs if he does not make the team.
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"That's just the way it goes sometimes," Evans said. "All you can do is just try to do the best with the opportunity that you have."
Already enduring a tough spring, Garcia allowed 10 runs in total but actually lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 7.94. All but three of the runs were unearned due to second baseman Skip Schumaker's fielding error.
Brad Emaus, who finished 4-for-4 and remains the heavy favorite to win New York's starting second-base job, blasted his first spring homer off Eduardo Sanchez in the fifth. The next batter, Josh Thole, curled his third home run around the right-field foul pole. David Wright later doubled off Sanchez to finish 4-for-4, one of five Mets with multiple hits.
Matt Den Dekker added a three-run shot, his first of the spring, off Mitchell Boggs in the sixth inning.
The Mets have now won eight consecutive games at Digital Domain Park and five of seven overall, while the Cardinals have dropped four of their past six.
Up next for the Cardinals: Kyle Lohse makes his final Grapefruit League start and looks to wrap up what has been an outstanding spring when he takes the hill for the Cards against the Nationals on Friday. It's a rare night game at Space Coast Stadium, with a scheduled 5:05 p.m. CT start. Lohse has allowed three runs in 18 innings over four Grapefruit League starts, and perhaps most notably, he's struck out 12 without issuing a walk. The Cards and Nats will also be meeting for the first time since the two clubs had a bench-clearing incident in Jupiter on Monday.
Up next for the Mets: Rather than have right-hander Chris Young face the division rival Marlins for the third time this spring, the Mets will hold Young back in a Minor League game at Port St. Lucie on Friday. In his place, either Pat Misch or D.J. Carrasco will start a 1:05 p.m. ET road game against the Marlins, opposite right-hander Anibal Sanchez. Expect Emaus to receive a fourth consecutive start at second base.