03/31/06 4:16 PM ET
Pujols' three homers lift Cardinals
Slugger belts one off Mets' Martinez, two off Zambrano
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Friday, March 31 Cardinals at the plate: Albert Pujols appears ready for the regular season. He hit three home runs, the first in the third inning with one man on against Pedro Martinez, the others in the fifth and seventh against Victor Zambrano.
Mets at the plate: Jose Reyes' leadoff double and Carlos Beltran's RBI produced the Mets' first run in the first inning. An RBI single by Cliff Floyd followed.
Cardinals on the mound: Mark Mulder allowed eight hits, five in the first inning, and two runs in five innings, striking out two and walking three.
Mets on the mound: Martinez made his second spring start and upped his innings pitching total to all of seven. He surrendered three runs on three hits, walking three and striking out three in four innings. He threw 88 pitches, including an inordinate number of fastballs. Zambrano allowed six runs before he was removed in the seventh with a slight strain of his left hamstring.
Grapefruit League records: Cardinals 14-13; Mets 15-13-1.
Up next: The Spring Training finale for both teams is set for Saturday at 12:05 p.m. ET in Jupiter. The Mets and Cardinals play for the third straight game and the seventh time this spring. Steve Trachsel, hit hard in his most recent appearance, makes his sixth exhibition game start, opposite Jason Marquis.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.