Yo leads offense backing Matz to end spring

Yo leads offense backing Matz to end spring

LAS VEGAS -- Yoenis Cespedes smacked a leadoff home run in the third, one of four Mets homers, to back Steven Matz and lift the Mets to an 8-1 victory Friday over the Cubs in an exhibition game at Cashman Field. With the win, the Mets ended a 14-game spring winless streak.

"Today was the culmination of a long and hot spring," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're ready to go, I think."

Matz struck out six over five hitless, scoreless innings in a rematch with Chicago's Jason Hammel. These two pitchers last faced off Oct. 21 at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Matz's hitless start

Hammel, who will start the fourth game of the regular season for the Cubs, scattered five hits over four innings, striking out six in allowing two runs (one earned).

The Mets had runners at first and second with one out in the second inning, and both advanced on Matz's sacrifice bunt. The Cubs then employed a defensive shift, and Curtis Granderson slapped a ball to second baseman Ben Zobrist, who was in perfect position in shallow right. Zobrist's throw to Anthony Rizzo was low, and the first baseman dropped it for an error, allowing a run to score.

Conforto scores on an error

Cespedes, who hit 17 home runs in 57 games with the Mets last season, led off the third with his blast over the left-field wall, his first homer this spring.

Cespedes' solo home run

T.J. Rivera doubled to lead off the Mets' sixth and scored one out later on Matt Reynolds' sacrifice fly to center.

After Matz departed, the Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth against Sean Gilmartin, and they scored when pinch-hitter John Andreoli drew a walk.

La Stella scores on a walk

Pinch-hitter Ty Kelly added a three-run homer with two outs in the Mets' eighth to open a 6-1 lead. Eric Campbell and Rivera hit back-to-back solo shots in the ninth to bring the score to 8-1.

Up next for the Mets: The Mets will fly to Kansas City on Friday and work out Saturday in advance of their 8:37 p.m. ET Opening Night game Sunday against the Royals. Matt Harvey will start the Mets' opener opposite fellow right-hander Edinson Volquez, in a rematch of World Series Game 5. Preview >

Up next for the Cubs: After an off-day Saturday, Kyle Hendricks will make his final tuneup in an exhibition game Sunday against the Angels in front of lots of family and friends. Hendricks, who grew up in the Orange County area, won the fifth starter spot with a quiet and effective spring, striking out 23 over 24 2/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT, and you can listen on 670 AM or stream live for free.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.