Bullpen can't back up Lackey's solid outing

Bullpen can't back up Lackey's solid outing

at Fort Myers, Fla.
Wednesday, March 17

Mets at the plate: After a three-hour bus ride across the swamps of Florida, the Mets put minimal pressure on a stout Red Sox pitching staff until Fernando Martinez broke through with a three-run homer in the eighth inning. Daniel Murphy later tacked on a sacrifice fly to give the visitors a three-run cushion. Previously, Angel Pagan had provided the team's only threat against Boston, singling to lead off the game and doubling with two outs in the sixth.

Red Sox at the plate: Jeremy Hermida's leadoff single in the third inning sparked a Boston rally, which culminated in Dustin Pedroia's RBI single. David Ortiz, who homered Monday and had two hits Tuesday, continued his hot hitting with a single off the first-base bag in the fourth.

Mets on the mound: Though he allowed four hits, Mike Pelfrey nonetheless enjoyed his finest start of the spring, featuring an array of offspeed pitches and holding the Sox to one run in four innings. Pelfrey struck out two batters and walked none. In relief, Jenrry Mejia induced three ground balls in a flawless six-pitch fifth.

2010 Spring Training - null
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info

Red Sox on the mound: Facing a lineup composed mainly of Mets reverses, John Lackey was remarkably efficient over four scoreless innings. Lackey needed just 39 pitches -- 28 of them strikes -- to retire the Mets, striking out two and walking none. He allowed two hits. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a flawless fifth in relief of Lackey, but Ramon Ramirez eventually coughed up the lead, serving up Martinez's homer in the eighth.

Worth noting: Both teams dressed up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day -- the Mets with green hats, the Sox with full green uniforms. ... Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre made a nifty play in the fourth inning, scooping up a ground ball that deflected off Lackey's foot, then throwing to first base all in one motion. Beltre nabbed Alex Cora at the bag by half a step. ... The Indians claimed former Mets infielder Anderson Hernandez off waivers on Thursday. ... The Red Sox optioned left-hander Dustin Richardson to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Grapefruit League standings: Mets 9-6; Red Sox 8-7.

Up next: Following an off-day Thursday, Josh Beckett will return to action Friday against the Pirates after missing his previous start with the flu. Though the illness didn't set Beckett back too much, it did make acquiring innings more of a necessity. With just three starts standing between him and a potential Opening Day assignment -- and only five Grapefruit League innings under his belt -- Beckett will need to begin building up his stamina in earnest.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.