Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

Right-hander helps split Cardinals squad edge Mets with 84-pitch gem

Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

JUPITER, Fla. -- Starters Matt Harvey and John Lackey each looked sharp in their penultimate starts of Grapefruit League play on Friday, though it was the Cardinals who came away with a 5-4 split-squad victory.

Efficiency allowed Lackey, in his third start of the spring, to become the first Cardinals pitcher this spring to cover seven innings in a Grapefruit League outing. He scattered six hits and didn't allow the Mets to advance a runner past second until the seventh, when New York used back-to-back hits by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Michael Cuddyer to foil the shutout bid.

Lackey ended his 84-pitch effort with a called strikeout of Eric Campbell.

Ortega's solo home run

Outfielder Rafael Ortega was the story of the game offensively for St. Louis, drilling a pair of homers and collecting four RBIs. Ortega, who was sent out to Minor League camp on Monday, was brought back for Friday's game because of the team's thin roster.

Harvey, continuing his strong return from Tommy John surgery, threw a spring-high 80 pitches (58 strikes) over 4 1/3 innings. He retired eight straight at one point and finished with five strikeouts and no walks on his 26th birthday.

Peter Bourjos helped run the Cardinals out to an early lead against Harvey by legging out a leadoff double in the first. He then advanced to third on Jason Heyward's deep flyout and scored easily on a Matt Holliday sacrifice fly.

Ortega's three-run homer

Ortega padded the Cardinals' lead with his first homer of the day, a solo drive off Mets reliever Carlos Torres in the sixth inning. It was the only hit Torres allowed in his 2 1/3-inning appearance. Ortega's eighth-inning homer plated three and gave the Cards just enough offense to hold on, as the Mets scored three in the top of the ninth on a few singles, a bases-loaded walk and a pair of groundouts.

Up next for the Cardinals: The Cardinals will make their only spring trip to Lakeland on Saturday to face the Tigers in a 12:05 p.m. CT game between reigning Central Division champs that will air on Gameday Audio. Lance Lynn is scheduled to start for the Cardinals, while Shane Greene will take the mound for Detroit. On Monday, in his first appearance since sustaining a left hip flexor strain, Lynn pitched four scoreless innings against the Red Sox. The game was washed out before becoming official.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.