Marlins 4, Mets 2 (5), Santana 87 or So

BUNTZ! Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

The Mets fell to the Marlins 4-2 in a rain-shortened affair in Port St. Lucie, but the main attraction in today's matinee was obviously Johan Santana, making his second spring start. His first two innings proceeded much like those in his first outing, his fastball sitting at 87 mostly, with a few trips to 90. A scorched double by Hanley Ramirez was his only blemish in the first two frames.

In the third, he was victimized by a Ronny Cedeno error and a ball misplayed by Adam Loewen (ruled a hit). A sudden rainstorm contributed to a four-pitch walk, ending Santana's outing a tad early (2 2/3 IP). Chris Schwinden hit a batter with the bases loaded, putting an unearned run on his ledger, but you'd have to call this start another encouraging sign for Santana's road back from shoulder surgery. He appeared to be working on his slider a bit more this time, particularly to right-handed batters, and his overall control appeared to improve a bit. Fingers crossed, guys.

Elsewhere on the pitching front, Schwinden had no hiccups apart from his HBP. Jon Rauch had another ugly outing, giving up three singles to open the top of the fifth, then walking in a run and allowing two on a sac fly and a scorched single. He wound up the losing pitcher, for whatever that's worth in March.

Offensively, Adam Loewen continued his hot spring with two hits, including a double. Josh Thole contributed an RBI single. Jason Bay finally got his first grapefruit league hit, if you're into that sort of thing. Apart from Loewen's double and a Lucas May two-bagger, the Mets' bats were limited to singles by Mark Buehrle and Alex Sanabia, who danced out of danger in the bottom of the fifth, just before rain ended everyone's day.

rain notwithstanding, I think we all got we wanted out of this day, which was an afternoon of non-horror from Johan Santana. And you can cling to that, as long as you don't read too much about the postgame reports of David Wright and Tim Byrdak flying back to New York to see doctors. Happy Sunday!

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