JUPITER, Florida -- Carlos Beltran has recovered from the flu and is ready to get back to playing ball.
Beltran went 2-for-4 in his return, with singles in the third and seventh innings on the first pitch of each at-bat. The 34-year-old outfielder saw only five pitches in four at-bats during the Cardinals’ 5-4 split-squad win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
“Physically, I feel fine,” Beltran said, regarding the flu. “I’m just happy to be able to get out there and face live pitching and get a feel for the game.”
However, Beltran is still experiencing shoulder soreness. He is expected to be the Cardinals’ designated hitter again on Tuesday when St. Louis goes to Port St. Lucie to face his former team, the New York Mets.
“Right now everything looks fast to me. The game looks real fast,” Beltran said. “The only way that will go away is just by playing.”
Kolten Wong singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning for the Cardinals.
The teams combined to walk 19 batters. Starter Brandon Beachy issued five of the 12 walks for the Braves, who are 1-10 this spring.
“It was pretty terrible,” Beachy said. “I was struggling to throw strikes at times. I was trying to make adjustments, and they are just not coming as quickly as I need them to.”
After a smooth first inning, Beachy’s command faltered in the second. He allowed one hit and three walks, including Erik Komatsu to bring in the Cardinals’ first run. Beachy walked to more in the third.
“I knew what I was trying to do. It just wasn’t happening,” said Beachy, who wanted to stop his head from moving so much during his delivery.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia allowed one run, three hits and two walks. Only 21 of his 40 pitches were strikes.
“I think it was just one of those days where I was just not very good,” Garcia said.
Jason Motte was credited with the win. Cory Gearrin took the loss.
Garcia pitched on three days’ rest, moving up to throw in the spot originally believed to be designated for the ailing Chris Carpenter.
The Cardinals said on Monday that Lance Lynn will be stretched out as a potential starter in case Carpenter isn’t ready in time for the opening week of the regular season. Carpenter, the 2005 NL Cy Young award winner, has a bulging disc in his neck.
Lynn is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against Houston.
The Braves led off Monday with back-to-back singles by Michael Bourn and Martin Prado. Bourn advanced to third on Prado’s single to right and scored when Chipper Jones grounded into a double play.
After the Cardinals tied it in the second, Atlanta scored twice in the third against reliever Joe Kelly. Andrelton Simmons led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on Prado’s RBI single. Prado, who had three hits, came around on Freddie Freeman’s single.
Trailing 3-1, St. Louis loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on a single and two walks by Atlanta reliever Dusty Hughes. The Cardinals tied it with consecutive sacrifice flies by Komatsu and Ryan Jackson.
Amaury Cazana’s eighth-inning RBI double gave the Cardinals their first lead, but Jordan Parraz’s one-out RBI triple got Atlanta even at 4 in the top of the ninth.
Daniel Descalso reached base four times in five plate appearances for the Cardinals, three times via a walk.