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St. Louis at New York

Scoreboard
St. Louis (12-11) «010100010370
N.Y. Mets (9-11)000200000280

Cardinals 3, Mets 2

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - David Freese said his back still feels a bit stiff, but he didn't show any signs of lingering issues when he returned to the field for the first time in a week.

Freese led off the fourth inning with a long home run and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the New York Mets 3-2 on Thursday.

Freese had been out since March 14 with back stiffness stemming from a hard fall he took while chasing a foul ball. The 2011 World Series MVP played five innings at third base.

"It's a little stiff, but I think that was expected," Freese said. "It's fine. I'll keep going and get ready."

Freese's home run came on a fastball from Mets starter Jeremy Hefner, who was starting in place of Shaun Marcum. Marcum received a cortisone shot in his shoulder Tuesday because of what he called tightness, and he said he expects to miss just one turn in the rotation.

Freese said he was a little surprised to get such a solid swing on a pitch so quickly in his return. He said he doesn't feel too far behind.

"I got a good swing on it," Freese said. "There were a couple guys smashing them today."

Mets infielder Justin Turner also got a hit in his return from injury after an ankle sprain Saturday kept him from the lineup. He had a pinch-hit single in the sixth, then showed he was OK by running from first to third on a hit.

"He ran the bases this morning, and he looked great," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Justin is ready to go."

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright got off to a smooth start, allowing just two runners through the first three innings. He made some adjustments after surrendering a two-run triple to Matt den Dekker in the fourth.

Wainwright gave up two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2-3 innings. He said he was experimenting a little in his next-to-last start before opening day.

"I'm right where I need to be," Wainwright said. "I had only walked two guys all spring training, and I think I walked more today than I had all spring, but today I wanted to work on a lot of things - my changeup."

NOTES: Cardinals C Yadier Molina and OF Carlos Beltran received an extra day off to rest from what manager Mike Matheny called "a strenuous travel schedule" while playing in the World Baseball Classic. They are expected to work out Friday and return to the lineup Saturday.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
St. Louis

D. Freese
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
New York

J. Hefner
IP 5.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 3
K 4
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jon Jay, CF4000110 .196
Matt Carpenter, 2B3010112 .396
    Maikel Cleto, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Matt Holliday, LF4010012 .182
    Adron Chambers, PR-LF0100000 .250
Allen Craig, RF3011110 .316
Matt Adams, 1B2000202 .292
David Freese, 3B3111010 .259
    Ty Wigginton, 3B1000001 .100
Pete Kozma, SS3120101 .340
Tony Cruz, C3000003 .235
    Rob Johnson, C1000000 .167
Adam Wainwright, P2011001 .500
    Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
    Seth Maness, P0000000 .000
   a- Shane Robinson, PH1000000 .455
    Kolten Wong, 2B1000000 .269
Totals3137365  
a-flied out for Maness in the 7th
Batting
2B - Matt Holliday (2, Lyon)
HR - David Freese (2, Hefner)
RBI - Allen Craig (9), David Freese (5), Adam Wainwright (1)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Wainwright (1)
CS - Pete Kozma (1, 2nd base by Hefner/Buck)
Team LOB - 7
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Adam Wainwright 4.2322330 3.00
Randy Choate0200000 3.38
Seth Maness 1.1200010 3.86
Maikel Cleto (W,1-0) 1100120 1.59
Fernando Salas (H,2) 1000120 1.29
Jason Motte (S,1) 1000110 5.00
HBP - Duda (by Randy Choate)
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 35-23, Randy Choate 3-2, Seth Maness 8-8, Maikel Cleto 12-8, Fernando Salas 11-7, Jason Motte 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 6-5, Seth Maness 1-2, Maikel Cleto 1-0
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 20, Randy Choate 3, Seth Maness 6, Maikel Cleto 5, Fernando Salas 4, Jason Motte 4
New York Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Marlon Byrd, RF4010000 .308
    Brian Bixler, 2B1000011 .300
Ruben Tejada, SS4000012 .100
    Scott Rice, P0000000 .000
    Collin Cowgill, CF1000001 .311
Ike Davis, 1B2010110 .342
    Brandon Hicks, 1B2000010 .135
Zach Lutz, 3B5010011 .311
Lucas Duda, LF2120000 .256
    Jamie Hoffmann, LF1010100 .200
John Buck, C2100104 .320
    Travis d'Arnaud, C1000101 .333
Matt den Dekker, CF4012023 .220
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
    Bobby Parnell, P0000000 .000
Omar Quintanilla, 2B-SS3000121 .212
Jeremy Hefner, P2000003 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   a- Justin Turner, PH1010000 .310
    Mike Baxter, RF0000100 .152
Totals3528269  
a-singled for Hawkins in the 6th
Batting
2B - Lucas Duda (3, Wainwright)
3B - Matt den Dekker (2, Wainwright)
RBI - Matt den Dekker 2 (7)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Tejada-Quintanilla-Davis, Quintanilla-Bixler-Hicks
New York Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hefner 5522341 3.10
LaTroy Hawkins 1000210 0.00
Scott Rice 1000000 4.15
Brandon Lyon (L,0-1) 1211100 2.70
Bobby Parnell 1000000 2.79
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hefner 38-26, LaTroy Hawkins 13-5, Scott Rice 3-3, Brandon Lyon 8-4, Bobby Parnell 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hefner 4-5, LaTroy Hawkins 2-0, Scott Rice 1-2, Brandon Lyon 2-0, Bobby Parnell 3-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hefner 21, LaTroy Hawkins 5, Scott Rice 3, Brandon Lyon 5, Bobby Parnell 3
Game Information
Attendance - 5785
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Chris Conroy