Mets top Marlins

March 15, 2009 4:45:05 PM PDT
Pitching on short rest, right-hander Chris Volstad had his best start of the spring.Volstad allowed three hits in five scoreless innings while striking out three in the Florida Marlins' 10-5 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday.

"It was the best I felt all spring," said Volstad, who didn't issue any walks. "My arm felt good. My timing was there. I felt good with all of my pitches.

"I was trying to get those ground balls, those quick outs. It worked for me today. I was 54 (pitches) through five innings. Just trying to pound the strike zone and be aggressive toward the hitters," he added.

In his previous start Wednesday against St. Louis, Volstad was removed in the fifth inning after he was hit in the right thigh by Joe Mather's line drive. On Sunday, Volstad rolled up his pants to show off an ugly bruise, which he said doesn't bother him.

Volstad, the organization's top draft pick (16th overall) in 2005, will be the No. 3 starter behind two other right-handers who have had strong springs, Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson.

"I feed off those guys," Volstad said. "I see JJ go out there and dominate. I want to go out and do the same thing. I'm just trying to learn from them."

Volstad is 0-1 with a 3.24 ERA this spring. He was 6-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) last year after a July call-up.

Mets right-hander John Maine gave up four runs and four hits in the first inning but settled down to throw three scoreless innings after that.

He had two outs in the first inning when he hit Wes Helms with a pitch, then gave up a two-run double to Dan Uggla. Cody Ross followed with a two-run homer, his first of the spring.

"The first inning, I don't know what got into me," Maine said. "I am feeling better and better each time. Hopefully a couple more starts I'll be right there. It's always a couple pitches that seem to do me in."

Mets second baseman Luis Castillo sparked a six-run seventh inning with a two-run triple off left-hander Taylor Tankersley, who was charged with all six runs, boosting his ERA to 18.56.

Left-hander Renyel Pinto also struggled, walking three batters and hitting one to give the Mets a run in the sixth.

"It's spring training. You can't run them out there every time and expect shutout innings," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his relievers.

Notes: The Mets reassigned RHP Tony Armas Jr. to minor league camp. ... Florida right-hander Jesus Delgado was claimed off waivers by Seattle. Delgado and Hanley Ramirez were among four players the Marlins got from Boston in the November 2005 trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox.