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Kozma, Descalso homer as Cards rally past Yanks

JUPITER, Fla. --  Kolten Wong drilled a two-run home run to draw the Cardinals even in the ninth before Adron Chambers' walk-off RBI single in a 7-6 St. Louis win over the Yankees at Roger Dean Stadium on Thursday. The game was the first of two spring matchups between the two clubs.

Ramon Flores' RBI single in the ninth inning off Edward Mujica put the Yankees ahead, and New York added a second run before the Cards staged their rally in the bottom of the inning, which was aided by two Yankees errors after Wong's home run.

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Daniel Descalso's two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh had put St. Louis ahead by a run, before the Yankees knotted game at 4 in the top of the eighth on Austin Romine's RBI single.

Cardinals closer Jason Motte took the mound in a 2-2 game in the sixth and allowed a leadoff walk and then a one-out double to Chris Stewart. Ronnier Mustelier followed with a groundout that scored Francisco Cervelli. The run was the fifth allowed by Motte in four spring innings.

Making his second appearance of the spring, Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova covered the first three innings. He allowed three hits -- all singles -- and one run, while striking out two. Nova, who is seeking a bounce-back year in the Yankees' rotation, threw 27 of his 45 pitches for strikes.

The Cardinals started Joe Kelly, one of two pitchers left in the team's competition for the fifth rotation spot. Kelly's command wanted throughout the afternoon, though. He walked three, hit a batter and allowed two hits, including an RBI single by Cervelli.

"My arm feels outstanding," Kelly said. "Knock on wood, I couldn't ask anything better at this point. My body feels great. Everything feels good. It's just something for me to build on."

It took Kelly 46 pitches (24 strikes) to get through two innings, and that would mark the end of his day. Seth Maness, who is projected to begin the year in the Triple-A rotation, followed with three scoreless innings.

The Cardinals evened the game at 2 with a home run from Pete Kozma, who learned earlier in the day that he's in line to be the team's starting shortstop this season, with Rafael Furcal set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Kozma's blast -- his second of the spring -- came off right-hander Brett Marshall.

Up next: David Freese is expected to return to the Cardinals' lineup on Friday when the team travels to Viera, Fla., to face the Nationals. Freese has not played since bruising his tailbone in Monday's game. Making the start for St. Louis will be Shelby Miller, who is now one of two pitchers still competing for the Cardinals' final rotation spot. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT. Jordan Zimmermann is slated to start for Washington.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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