Solo home runs by Jeff McNeil and Albert Almora Jr. were enough to propel the New York Mets to a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mets were coming off a 2-0 loss of their own to the Miami Marlins just 24 hours earlier, but a lineup bolstered by McNeil, who got his first start of spring training, and Almora Jr., who is playing to get a routine spot, had enough juice to lead the Mets to victory. McNeil started the scoring off with a home run to right field in the second inning off starting pitcher Framber Valdez.
Almora Jr. gave the Mets an insurance run in the fifth inning after launching a ball 387 feet to left field against Carson LaRue.
Marcus Stroman convinced management to give him a start instead of just pitching live batting practice against his teammates. Stroman, who agreed to a qualifying offer this offseason, threw two scoreless innings — six up, six down — with two strikeouts. He even debuted a new split-changeup, where he typically throws sinkers and sliders.
Jordan Yamamoto, who was originally in line for the start, pitched two solid innings following Stroman. He looked strong, allowing just two hits and striking out one.
A familiar face in Jerry Blevins came on to pitch the fifth and got out of a jam after allowing a walk and a hit. Blevins is back with the Mets on a minor league deal this season.
Drew Smith and Sam McWilliams both added an inning apiece, with McWilliams escaping with two men on and striking out two.
In his debut with the Mets, newly signed catcher James McCann went 0-2 at the plate but threw out a runner going to second in the third inning.
New York will take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. EST on Wednesday afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.
(Photo: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca)