Johan turns in strongest outing of spring

JUPITER, Fla. — Johan Santana and Jake Westbrook put on a spring duel, each tossing six strong innings in the Mets’ 2-1 loss against the Cards on Wednesday.

The winning run came home on Jon Jay’s one-out single, which plated Adron Chambers, who pinch-ran for Matt Adams after his single.

The Cardinals got their other run in the sixth, Santana’s last of the game. Tyler Greene and Carlos Beltran led off the frame with singles. After two strikeouts, Lance Berkman delivered a single up the middle to drive home Greene. The RBI was Berkman’s second of the spring.

Santana allowed only three other hits in his outing. He did not walk a batter and finished with six strikeouts. Of the 69 pitches Santana threw, 48 were strikes.

“There are some minor steps, there are some baby steps and there are some giant steps,” Mets manager Terry Collins said afterward. “And today was a giant step forward.”

Westbrook was even better. After tossing four scoreless innings in his last start, Westbrook extended himself two further. He, too, did not allow a walk, and the Mets tallied only three singles off the right-hander. Westbrook, who threw 53 of his 74 pitches for strikes, has allowed only one earned run in 15 Grapefruit League innings. He also became the first Cardinals pitcher to reach the six-inning plateau.

The Mets’ lone tally came in the ninth on Jordany Valdespin’s homer off Fernando Salas.

Manny Acosta made a scoreless appearances for the Mets. Mitchell Boggs and Kyle McClellan each tossed a scoreless inning for St. Louis.

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