PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey, after seeing two of the Cardinals' first six hitters take him deep Tuesday, chose an optimistic view of his performance afterward.

"I think the whole idea is to get better as each goes on," he said after the Mets' 7-1 loss to St. Louis at Digital Domain Park. "I feel like I was a lot better from last week.

"I wasn't very good last week, so I don't know how much it says. But I was better today. At the next start, we'll try to get better again."

Pelfrey allowed four runs and six hits, walking none and striking out none in 4 1/3 innings against the defending World Series champs. The Series MVP, David Freese, ripped a two-run homer to rightfield in the first. Yadier Molina, the eternal scourge to Mets fans, started the second with a solo blast to left.

The third and fourth innings went more smoothly for Pelfrey, and Terry Collins lifted him with one out in the fifth; an inherited run scored in the frame when Tyler Greene stole home on a double steal.

"I thought in the third and fourth and actually fifth innings, there was some depth to his sinker," Collins said.

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Santana set

On his 33rd birthday, Johan Santana had a bullpen session and declared himself ready for his Friday start against Detroit, his third start of spring training. "I think it went fine," said Santana, who had surgery to repair the anterior capsule in his left shoulder. "Another day in the business."


Extra bases

Reliever Garrett Olson, one of many lefthanders competing to replace the injured Tim Byrdak, succeeded Pelfrey and walked his first hitter, lefty Daniel Descalso, before retiring Skip Schumaker on a groundout . . . Former GM Frank Cashen, who lives in the area, attended the game.