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Bay quiet, Wright homers as Mets top Cards 17-11

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Jason Bay's debut was low key, but David Wright homered in his first at-bat and the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 17-11 on Thursday.

Bay, a former Red Sox left fielder, went 0 for 2 with a walk and a strikeout in his first game of the spring and first live action with the Mets since signing a four-year, $66 million contract in December.

"It's about getting ready for the season and for me, I like to see a lot of pitches, get a feel of being in the batter's box and seeing pitches," Bay said. "Everybody wants results, but good or bad in spring training I don't think it really has much carry-over."

The Mets brought in Bay to add power to the lineup after he hit 36 homers last year, but instead it was three of his teammates hitting the long shots Thursday.

Center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. sparked a three-run fifth inning with a leadoff home run, and minor league first baseman Ike Davis, a first-round draft pick in 2008, hit a grand slam as part of a six-run eighth inning for the Mets.

Wright's long ball sparked some confidence as he tries to bounce back from a year in which he managed just 10 homers, but he's not getting too excited yet. He went 1 for 2 with two RBI and two runs scored.

"It feels good," Wright said. "It's been a while since I've been on the field, so to be able to go out there and feel as comfortable as I did I think is a step in the right direction, but it's still a long way away from going out and accomplishing what I want to accomplish."

Needless to say, pitching wasn't the highlight in a high-scoring game that featured 18 walks.

The Cardinals took a 5-3 lead with four runs in the third off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who started the game and lasted 2 2/3 innings. St. Louis right fielder Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run double in the frame, then added a solo shot in the fifth off righty Tobi Stoner to help the Cardinals take a 6-4 lead before the Mets went up for good in the bottom half.

St. Louis came back from an 11-6 deficit in the eighth to make it a one-run game, but Davis' grand slam put it away. Ludwick finished 2 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored.

"First game of the year, I definitely woke up feeling different," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Just to have that competition also adds to the competition we have within our club. I think that's good."

NOTES: The Cardinals signed 24 players, including outfielder Colby Rasmus and infielder Brendan Ryan, to one-year contracts Thursday. Rasmus appeared in 147 games as a rookie last year, batting .251 with 16 homers and 52 RBI. Ryan, in his third season with the Cardinals in 2009, batted .292 with three homers and 37 RBI. ... The Mets signed right-handed pitcher Kiko Calero to a minor league contract and invited him to big-league camp Thursday. Calero, 35, pitched for the Marlins last year and went 2-2 with 1.95 ERA in 67 games out of the bullpen, striking out 69 batters and walking 30 in 60.0 innings. "Last year was my best year and I had to wait two weeks into spring training," Calero said. "It was hard, but I'm here."