Holliday hits 2 doubles as Cardinals beat Mets
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By CHUCK KING
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Matt Holliday doubled in both at-bats and drove in two runs Sunday for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 7-1 win over the New York Mets.
Holliday didn't play in the Cardinals' spring training opener on Friday. He singled and walked in two plate appearances as the designated hitter Saturday.
"I feel good," said Holliday, who played left field for the first time this spring. "It's two days into spring training, so I don't put too much into it, but having good at-bats is always a positive. You just try to roll it into the next day."
Holliday's first double came off starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who's competing for the fifth spot in the Mets' rotation.
"I gave up a run in the first inning today, but I think all my pitches are very good at this point of the year except for my slider. I think that needs a little bit more work," Matsuzaka said through a translator.
A 30-pitch first inning that included two walks kept Cardinals starter Michael Wacha from getting out of the second. He reached his pitch cap after retiring the first two batters of the second without allowing a run.
"I was happy with it," Wacha said. "Arm felt great. Body felt great. Command wasn't where I wanted it to be. Hopefully that will come along."
New York: Manager Terry Collins liked what he saw out of Matsuzaka's first spring start. Collins said the chase for the fifth spot in the starting rotation will likely come down to Matsuzaka or John Lannan.
Matsuzaka began last season in the Cleveland minor league system before being granted his release. He sidestepped a question about his willingness to play in the minors again, saying, "I'll think about that if that happens."
Cardinals: Wacha has impressed manager Mike Matheny with the way he's handled expectations.
"I think he's got a maturity to him, especially as young as he is, to handle that distraction. Because that can be a distraction," Matheny said.
Mets: Shortstop Ruben Tejada was scratched from the lineup after he experienced a tight left hamstring during pregame workouts. Collins said Tejada was held out as a precaution. Tejada will not play in Monday's game against Atlanta, either.
Cardinals: Arm soreness slowed reliever Kevin Siegrist for a couple of days earlier this spring. The left-hander made his first Grapefruit League appearance on Sunday, allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth.
Randy Choate is the Cardinals' lefty specialist out of the bullpen, but early in spring he's facing both right-handed and left-handed hitters. Matheny said frequent lineup changes early in the spring make it difficult to play for matchups, so he would rather see Choate get his work regardless of the opposing hitter.
When minor league play begins, Choate may play in some of those games to get the desired lefty-lefty matchups, with Choate entering major league games later in the spring in situations that would mimic the regular season.
Matheny said he's looking for offseason acquisition Peter Bourjos to be an offensive "menace." He wants Bourjos to grind out his at-bats and get on base, noting that the speedy Bourjos is in scoring position as soon as he gets on base. The Cardinals got him in the offseason trade that sent David Freese to the Angels.
Updated March 2, 2014