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Cassel delivers solid effort for Astros

Cassel delivers solid performance

at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Sunday, March 9

Astros at the plate: Offense was in short supply on Sunday, as Darin Erstad, Tommy Manzella and Nick Gorneault, who each singled, were the only starting players to record a base hit against Mets pitchers.

Mets at the plate: Jose Reyes led off the first inning with his first home run of the spring. A squeeze by Anderson Hernandez and a sacrifice fly by Damion Easley produced runs in the second and sixth innings. Angel Pagan had his 15th hit of the spring, his second double, while David Wright hit a triple in the first.

Astros on the mound: Right-hander Jack Cassel allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in his three innings. The earned run was the home run by Reyes. A squeeze by the Mets' Hernandez produced the second run in the second. Runelvys Hernandez, the 29-year-old former Royals pitcher who was invited to Astros camp, allowed a run in 2 2/3 innings.

Mets on the mound: John Maine pitched four hitless innings, walking one batter and striking out three before Billy Wagner replaced him. His fastball steady at 94 mph, Wagner allowed a hard-hit single off the glove of third baseman Wright on a changeup to Gorneault. Aaron Heilman allowed a hit in the sixth.

Grapefruit League records: Mets 8-4, Astros 6-5.

Up next: Tradition Field may list to the left a tad on Monday, when the Red Sox make their lone visit of the spring to "Port St. Lefty" or "Portside Lucie." Johan Santana, decidedly left-handed, is to make this third exhibition game start for the Mets opposite Jon Lester, who is equally left-handed, at 1:10 p.m. ET. The scheduled relievers include the Mets' Pedro Feliciano and the Sox's Hideki Okajima and Javier Lopez, all left-handers.

The Astros play at home in Kissimmee, Fla., on Monday afternoon at 1:05 ET, with a matchup of terrific pitchers -- Roy Oswalt against Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays.

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

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