3/2/2014 4:01 P.M. ET
Dice-K delivers two innings in spring debut vs. Cards
Right-hander, who's battling for a rotation spot, allows RBI double to Holliday
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- A pair of RBI doubles by Matt Holliday and a two-run double from Pete Kozma paced the Cardinals in their first win in Grapefruit League play, a 7-1 victory over the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday.
Holliday, making his spring debut in left field, delivered his first run-scoring hit in the first inning off Mets right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka. Matt Carpenter had doubled to lead off the inning.
Two innings later, with Jose Valverde on the mound, Holliday drove home Peter Bourjos on a two-out double over Mets center fielder Juan Lagares. Holliday, who exited for a pinch-runner after the hit, has now reached base in each of his four Grapefruit League plate appearances.
The Cardinals finished the game with six doubles, including one from Kozma, whose two-run double in the sixth padded St. Louis' lead. Shane Robinson hit a two-run single later in the frame.
The Mets got a two-inning start from Matsuzaka, who is trying to win a spot in New York's rotation. He retired the five batters he faced after Holliday's first-inning hit. Of the 26 pitches Matsuzaka threw, 18 were strikes.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha could not match Matsuzaka's two-inning start, but Wacha did get through his spring debut without allowing a run. The Mets loaded the bases with the help of two walks and a Curtis Granderson double before Wacha ended the 30-pitch first with a groundout.
Wacha recorded two outs on nine pitches in the second before manager Mike Matheny turned to his bullpen. The Cardinals had a targeted pitch count of 40 for Wacha.
Reliever Keith Butler closed the inning for Wacha and then pitched a scoreless third. Rising left-handed prospect Tim Cooney followed with two perfect innings and struck out four. Zach Petrick, the organization's reigning Minor League pitcher of the year, also preserved the shutout with two scoreless innings.
Lefty Steven Matz was the first Mets pitcher on Sunday to make a scoreless appearance. Right-hander Logan Verrett followed him on the mound and allowed a two-out RBI single to Robinson, who had replaced Holliday.
Daniel Muno drove in the Mets' only run of the afternoon with an eighth-inning single off reliever Eric Fornataro.
Up next: The Braves will host the Mets on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET (listen on Gameday Audio). Right-hander Noah Syndergaard will make his first start of the spring for New York. Atlanta will send veteran Freddy Garcia to the mound.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.