PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - Jason Bay drove in three runs and the New York Mets, after a messy inning by opening-day starter Mike Pelfrey, scored four times in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-7 on Monday.
Kenshin Kawakami, making his first start this spring, allowed only one earned run and three hits in three innings for Atlanta. He struck out three.
All four candidates for the Mets' second base job contributed to the ninth-inning rally. Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Luis Hernandez each had a run-scoring hit as part of the comeback. Justin Turner was hit by a pitch, and outfielder Scott Hairston also had an RBI single.
``It was encouraging,' New York manager Terry Collins said. ``It was a fun ninth inning to say the least.'
Bay hit a two-run double in the third inning and an RBI single in the fifth, both with two outs. He hasn't homered this spring but is batting .333 after a slow start that included a number of strikeouts.
``He's happy with what's going on,' Collins said. ``Obviously we are, too. He swung the bat good today. Those were big hits. Two-out hits were huge. I was really happy for Jason because he's worked so hard.'
Held hitless through the first three innings, the Braves took a 7-3 lead in the fourth, scoring all their runs on seven hits and an error. Alex Gonzalez had a double and a two-run single in the inning.
Pelfrey was charged with seven hits and all seven runs - four earned - in 3 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked none.
``Even the outs we made that inning were good at_bats,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``We scored seven runs against their No. 1 pitcher, their ace, and that was good.'
Pelfrey wasn't pleased with the results and was expecting to last longer. He has one outing left before the season opener April 1 at Florida.
``I thought I stayed away mostly, and then in the fourth inning I came in and pitched inside and the ball wasn't sinking,' Pelfrey said. ``I continued to throw it inside, and they continued to hit it. I thought at times I made some bad pitches, but the ball wasn't moving. It was kind of flat when it was going in to righties and they hit the ball hard.'
Braves reliever Scott Proctor, coming back from a bout with bronchitis that took its toll in a rough outing Thursday, walked two batters in the sixth but didn't give up a hit or run.
Proctor is competing for one of the last bullpen spots, and the Braves have until March 28 to decide if they see him making the team before they would have to pay his full $750,000 salary for the year. He missed a scheduled outing Saturday after giving up five runs, one earned, on two walks and three hits in two-thirds of an inning Thursday.
``It's something that's been going on a couple weeks now, but I pitched through it, and unfortunately it caught up with me,' Proctor said of the bronchitis, which he didn't tell the team about initially. ``We're on the downslope of this thing. Hopefully I continue to make progress each day, and I'm feeling a little bit better each day.'
NOTES: Mets RF Carlos Beltran, who missed more than a week because of tendinitis in his left knee, took batting practice from both sides of the plate. He also shagged fly balls and did some light running. Collins said Beltran might hit in a minor league game Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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