PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jeurys Familia struck out two batters in a perfect frame in his first appearance since the World Series and Neil Walker and Lucas Duda homered as the New York Mets beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 in a split-squad game Monday at Tradition Field.
In the other game, Steven Matz pitched effectively in his spring training debut, but the Mets committed four errors and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-4 in Jupiter. Jeff Walters surrendered five runs in the fifth inning and was charged with the loss.
Like the Mets’ incumbent starting pitchers, Familia was held out of early Grapefruit League action after working an extra month last year. Pitching for the first time since blowing three save chances in the World Series, Familia struck out Dixon Machado, coaxed a groundout from Andrew Romine, then struck out Anthony Gose against the Tigers.
Familia did not blow a save after July 30 during the regular season in 2015.
“Because I threw a lot of innings and we got to the playoffs -- a long season last year, everybody threw a lot of innings -- they wanted to take it easy a little bit,” Familia said about delaying his first exhibition appearance until now.
As for the three blown saves against the Royals, Familia added: “It’s not something that affects me a lot. We’re trying to go back where we were last year and I’ll try to do my job. I feel great. I’m so excited to do what I love to do.”
Facing his original organization, former first-round pick Mike Pelfrey took a scoreless effort into the third inning for the Tigers. The Mets then loaded the bases on two walks, plus an error by third baseman Nick Castellanos. Pelfrey departed with one out, and A.J. Ladwig proceeded to allow a two-run single to Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single to Yoenis Cespedes as the Mets took a 3-1 lead. All three runs were charged to Pelfrey, who dined with ex-teammate David Wright on Sunday.
“I think at this point there are only about three players over there that I played with,” Pelfrey said. “The turnover’s pretty good, but the coaching staff’s the same, and [media relations director] Jay Horwitz came over this morning. ... When I left here I was coming off Tommy John, so I understood it. There were no hard feelings like that. I enjoyed my time here. It was fun to come back here. We can be friends off the field, but when we stepped on the field, I wanted to beat them. It was good to come back and see everybody. I feel like I was here maybe 10 years ago. It feels like a long time ago.”
Walker’s solo homer in the fourth -- his first long ball as a Met -- opened a three-run cushion.
Duda produced a two-run homer in the fifth against left-hander Justin Wilson for a 6-1 lead. Duda hit .285 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 123 at-bats against southpaws last season.
“He had a real good first half against them,” manager Terry Collins said. “He tailed off in the second half.”
Starter Bartolo Colon surrendered a game-opening triple to Gose, then an RBI single to No. 2 batter Casey McGehee. From there, Colon avoided any further damage while working three innings in his first Grapefruit League action.
“It’s very exciting, particularly because it means I’m back here with the Mets,” Colon, who re-signed despite the likelihood he ends up in the bullpen later in the season, said through an interpreter.
Jerry Blevins allowed one run on a hit and two walks in one inning in his second appearance since returning from a twice-fractured left forearm.
“You can tell he hasn’t pitched in 11 months,” Collins said, noting that Blevins’ pitches were drifting up in the zone.
As for the split-squad loss to the Cardinals, Matz allowed one run on one hit and two walks in three innings. He struck out the side in the second. The lone damage came on an RBI double by Stephen Piscotty in the third.
“He looked very, very good,” catcher Kevin Plawecki said. “His fastball had a lot of life and off-speed stuff was sharp. He dominated.”
The Mets stranded five baserunners over the first two innings against Adam Wainwright.
With the score tied at 1 in the fifth, Walters surrendered five runs before getting pulled in favor of Gabriel Ynoa.
What’s next: Matt Harvey makes his spring training debut when the Mets travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Harvey opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Matt Wisler at 1:05 p.m. ET. Roger Bernadina, who had been dealing with a visa issue that delayed his arrival in camp, is scheduled to be on the trip. So is Juan Lagares, who had missed three days of games while dealing with a dental issue.
Collins said Cespedes, who exclusively has served as a DH so far, will play center field on Wednesday against the Yankees. The manager expects Curtis Granderson will return that day, too, after dealing with an eye infection.