Wainwright wilder than usual in spring debut, Cards top Mets
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright struggled with his focus in his first start since last April and Matt Holliday made his professional debut at first base Monday as St. Louis beat a New York Mets split squad 9-4.
Wainwright walked three in two scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and struck out two.
''It was clear to me mid-first inning that my focus was not honed enough, that I was sort of soft focusing instead of hard focusing on a small target - aim small, miss small-type stuff,'' Wainwright said. ''I was kind throwing to a general area instead of throwing to a precise spot.''
Wainwright tore his Achilles tendon while running out of the batter's box on April 25. He returned from the disabled list late last season but only pitched in relief. By making his first Grapefruit League start in this game, he's on pace to pitch the opener on April 3.
Holliday made his spring debut and neatly blocked a pickoff throw from Wainwright that bounced. The veteran left fielder spent the early part of camp learning to play first base, though the Cardinals don't expect to use him much there this year.
Holliday had been scheduled to make his debut on Saturday but was scratched from that start because of back stiffness. He was originally slated to DH on Monday before playing four innings and going hitless in both at-bats.
Mets starter Steven Matz breezed through the first two innings before allowing a run in the third. He struck out the side in the second on only 12 pitches.
''I was just worried about making pitches,'' said Matz, who went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts as a rookie last season. ''The strikeouts, I wasn't really thinking about them. They just come sometimes. It felt good to definitely get a couple of those.''
The Cardinals scored five times in the fifth for a 6-1 lead. Stephen Piscotty drove in his second run of the game with a single and Jedd Gyorko added a two-run double, his second hit of the day.
Danny Muno hit an RBI single in the Mets third.
Cardinals: General Manager John Mozeliak said SS Jhonny Peralta will return to St. Louis for a second opinion on what the team believes is a torn ligament in his left thumb. Peralta, who averaged 156 games during his first two seasons with the Cards, could miss the first two months of the season. ... Manager Mike Matheny said closer Trevor Rosenthal didn't suffer any ill effects from the comebacker that stuck him in the calf during Sunday's game. ''I kicked him in the shin, too, just to make sure,'' Matheny kidded.
Mets: Matt Harvey will also make his first Grapefruit League appearance when he starts Tuesday against Atlanta. He went 13-8 last year in his comeback from Tommy John surgery.
Cardinals: Michael Wacha will make his spring debut in a start vs. the Twins. He was 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA last season.