After losing the home opener of the series on Monday, the St. Lucie Mets have now run off three straight victories including Thursday night’s 8-4 finale over the Tampa Tarpons, an affiliate of the Yankees on Thursday night in Port St. Lucie.
The Mets were lead by the organizations consensus top prospect infielder Andres Gimenez who finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and is now hitting .321 on the season. Josh Prevost made the start for St. Lucie and collected his first win of the season going five innings, allowing seven hits, three earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts on the night. Reliever Matt Blackham pitched two perfect innings to notch his first save of the year.
Josh Prevost, back with the squad after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John Surgery, got off to a rough start in the first. After the leadoff hitter grounded out to shortstop Andres Gimenez for the first out, he then gave up three straight singles and a walk, leading to the first run given up in the game. Josh was able to then limit the damage and induce fly ball outs to the next two hitters to end the inning down 1-0.
Outfielder Jacob Zanon, coming into the game in an 0-for-13 slump, led off the home half of the first with a triple to right field. Andres Gimenez, in what became a theme for the night for him, brought Zanon home with an opposite field sac fly to left to tie the game at 1-1.
Anthony Dimino then came to bat and hit a long fly ball over the wall to left, hitting his first home run of the season to give St. Lucie the lead 2-1. Dash Winningham would later strikeout and Luis Carpio grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Prevost hit the first batter of the inning, but later induced a ground out and a pop out to short before later giving up a line drive single and then striking out the last batter of the inning on a curveball.
In the bottom of the second, Ian Strom lead off for the St. Lucie Mets with a ground out, followed by a Dale Burdick strikeout and catcher Jose Garcia grounded out to the inning.
In the top of the third, Prevost struck out the first batter on a changeup before later giving up a single and allowing a walk. After a stolen base and a fly out, the next hitter drove a ball into right field scoring the runner from third. While advancing from first to third on the play, the runner was able to later score the second run of the inning on a throwing error from Ian Strom, who showed a very strong arm tonight but air mailed this one over the third baseman’s head. The next batter blooped another single which scored the third run of the inning before ending the inning by getting shortstop Diego Castillo to groundout.
Bottom of the third started with a Gene Cone Strikeout and Zanon pop out before Gimenez recorded his first hit of the night, an opposite field single shown below. Dimino then grounded out to the end the inning.
Andres Gimenez AB https://t.co/mwczfV0ufz
— Ernest Dove (@ernestdove) April 12, 2018
Provost then went on to have his first perfect inning in the fourth, allowing a long fly out, followed by a strikeout on his fastball clocked at 91 MPH and a ground out to second baseman Luis Carpio, who made a nice play to end the inning.
Bottom of the fourth Dash Winningham and Luis Carpio both grounded out. Ian Strom and Dale Burdick then both walked, with Strom stealing second before the inning later ended on a Jose Garcia ground out with Mets still behind 4-2.
Prevost then finished his night strong in the fifth, inducing two fly outs and a ground out to complete his five innings of work.
The big inning came in the fifth for St. Lucie. Cone and Zanon had back-to-back singles to start the frame. Gimenez hit another opposite field single to score Cone to bring the Mets within one. Dimino then scorched a ball that was misplayed by the first baseman. It was scored an error, with Zanon coming home with the tying run. Winningham then had the big hit of the night with a single past the shortstop to score Gimenez and Dimino and give Mets the lead 6-4. Here is video of the big hit.
Dash Winningham https://t.co/hZ0HE8Fwml
— Ernest Dove (@ernestdove) April 13, 2018
After a dump single by Carpio and line drive single by Strom loaded the bases with no outs, the Mets could not capitalize any further. Burdick, Garcia and Cone all struck out to the end the four-run fifth inning, with St. Lucie now ahead 6-4.
Right-hander Thomas Mcllraith then entered in relief of Prevost in the sixth. Showing a fastball that touched 94 to go with low 80s curveball, Thomas walked two batters in the inning but also recorded a strikeout, fly out and line out to right field for a scoreless outing.
The Mets went down quietly in the bottom of the sixth. Zanon, Gimenez and Dimino collectively lined out, popped out and struck out, Mets still ahead 6-4.
Stephen Nogosek took the mound in the seventh for the Mets, topping 96 MPH on his fastball with low 80s off speed but had a bit of a rough outing but no damage done. After giving up a leadoff line drive double to right field and a walk, Nogosek recorded a strikeout and then caught a comebacker and started a double play to end the inning.
Winningham struck out to begin the bottom of the seventh, and then Luis Carpio his first homer of the season over the wall to left field. This was easily the best game of the season for Carpio, who came in only 1-for-17 to start 2018. Strom then struck out, followed by a Burdick walk and stolen base but the inning ended on a Garcia strikeout with Mets now ahead 7-4.
Matt Blackham then entered for the Mets in the eighth. Sitting in the low 90s with a sharp looking curveball, he started by walking the first batter. Then induced a grounder resulting a nice double play of Gimenez scooping the ball on the run, flipping to Carpio who showed a strong arm to finish it off. The next batter popped out to end the eighth with Mets still leading 7-4.
Of special note during this inning there was injury to catcher Garcia who was taken out of the game and replaced by Brandon Brosher. It appeared in live action may have been an injury to his catching hand but I was unsure.
Cone led off with a single to center field to begin the bottom of the eighth, with Zanon then blooping a single into left field. Gimenez was then hit by a pitch. After a Dimino ground out, Winningham then drove in the 8th and final run of the night on a ground out of his own to first base.
Blackham came back out for the ninth with a perfect inning, inducing a ground out and recording back to back strikeouts to seal it for the Mets.
St. Lucie (4-4) 8, Tampa (3-5) 4 Box Score
- Jacob Zanon CF: 3-for-5, 3 R, 3B, .229/.250/.371
- Andres Gimenez SS: 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI .321/.394/.536
- Anthony Dimino DH: 1-for-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, .188/.278/.375
- Dash Winningham 1B: 1-for-5, 3 RBI .219/.257/.406
- Luis Carpio 2B: 2-for-5, R, HR, RBI .136/.200..318
- Gene Cone LF: 2-for-4, R, .350/.435/.400
- Josh Prevost RHP: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, W (1-1, 7.20)
- Thomas McIlraith RHP: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K (2.25)
- Stephen Nogosek RHP: IP, H, 0 R, BB, K (3.60)
- Matt Blackham RHP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K, S (1.50)
The night was about Andres Gimenez, who’s multi-hit game included one which came on an 0-2 pitch. He was also sharp in the field, making all the plays, moving on the run and showing soft hands on the double play combo with the games other star Luis Carpio.
Dash Winningham only had one hit in the game, but it was biggest of them all, scoring two and giving St. Lucie their first lead of the game, along with the out that scored another run giving him three runs batted in on the night. The big first baseman keeps finding ways to get the job done and has contributed throughout this winning streak.
On the mound, of note regarding Matt Blackham is his delivery. as noted by my good friend with me at the game tonight Scot Cohen (@scottyc9) “The ball comes out of his hand very late. It’s deceptive”.
As has been shown all year by this St. Lucie Squad, they have a lot of speed. It shows in the field and on the bases. They can put hits together, take the extra base, make the plays defensively and their youth is starting to grow.
Ian Strom, along with having an awesome father, also has a lot of speed, contact ability and arm strength.
Thank you as always for reading!