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Ryan back with a bang

Ruben Gotay, who is hoping to find his way onto the Cardinals regular season roster as a utility player, hit a dramatic homer off of former Redbird Kiko Calero Saturday as St. Louis beat the Mets 6-5.

But from a spring training standpoint, the real news as that Brendan Ryan made his first start in an A game. He had two hits, including a double, in three at bats -- a welcome sight for a club that has seen the top of the order struggle so far this spring.

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Brendan Ryan raps a double Saturday against the Mets. AP photo.

Leadoff man Skip Schumaker, the top of the order struggler in chief, had a hit Saturday in three at-bats to bring his spring average up to .125. Allen Craig, who hasn't struggled at all, had two more hits in four at bats. Barring a total collapse, I can't see how the Cardinals could leave him off the roster.

On the mound, Adam Wainwright pitched an impressive five innings allowing three hits and a walk while striking out six. But Blake Hawksworth continued to struggle, pitching one inning and allowing three hits. Jason Motte was worse, pitching one inning and allowing two runs on five hits. While he was saddled with a blown save, Gotay's heroics gave Motte the victory on the stat sheet.