Charlotte 7, St. Lucie 3
St. Lucie 5, Charlotte 3
After 14 straight shutout innings, Angel Cuan‘s scoreless streak came to an abrupt end Sunday. Cuan, the reigning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week, allowed a run in each of the first two innings and yielded seven total hits during a no-decision in St. Lucie’s 7-4 loss at Charlotte in the first game of a doubleheader.
The Mets salvaged the nightcap behind another quality performance by pitcher Matthew Bowman, who maintained his perfect record despite failing to factor into the decision in a 5-3 victory. The games were shortened to seven innings because of the doubleheader as the teams completed the three-game series after heavy rain forced postponements the past two days.
Cuan (5-1) was charged with a run in the first inning after permitting a triple to leadoff hitter Ryan Brett, who later scored on a groundout to second base. It was the first run the lefty surrendered since May 10th against Palm Beach. He had limited his previous two opponents to only five hits combined during his scoreless run before allowing three runs Sunday. He issued just one walk and had six strikeouts over five innings as his ERA swelled from 3.69 to 3.89 in the outing.
After falling behind 2-0 after two innings, the sluggish St. Lucie offense produced three runs in the next two frames, including two on a pair of back-to-back homers by Travis Taijeron and Charley Thurber during the fourth. Both solo blasts came off Stone Crabs starter Felipe Rivero, considered the Tampa Bay Rays’ ninth-best pitching prospect by MLB.com. The left-hander was then ejected after throwing behind the next batter he faced, Gilbert Gomez.
Cuan settled down after the second inning and held Charlotte scoreless over the next two innings before giving up his third run in the fifth — just the second time in nine games this season he has permitted more than two earned runs. Luis Mateo, who continues to work in a relief role while recovering from an elbow issue, was unable to preserve the tie and allowed four runs in the sixth to take the loss.
The Mets created some drama in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases twice, including one occasion with one out, but mustered only one run. Every hitter in the starting lineup except Gomez produced at least one hit as St. Lucie totaled 10 hits in the game.
In the second contest, Bowman (3-0) faced adversity on the mound for the first time since his promotion from Savannah and needed 86 pitches (49 strikes) to complete five innings. He was on the hook for three runs and five hits, increasing his ERA from 2.33 to 2.81 at the Advanced Single-A level. Bowman displayed tremendous poise and struck out two batters with one walk, improving his stellar strikeout-to-walk ratio to 7-to-1 over 32 innings with St. Lucie.
The right-hander, who turned 22 last Friday, worked from behind in the count often and threw 47 pitches in his first two innings when he surrendered two runs. One of the runs came on a solo blast by Charlotte third baseman Hector Guevara in the second inning, the first homer he’s allowed since his first start with the Mets against Daytona on May 7th, which came off the bat of Cubs top prospect Jorge Soler. Bowman relinquished another homer in the fifth that tied the game at 3 and ultimately led to his shortest outing as a member of the Mets.
Taijeron continued his recent surge and extended his hitting streak to seven games with a pair of solo homers in the nightcap, giving him three total on the day. He finished the doubleheader 3-for-5 with two walks, and now has four home runs in his past four games to lift his OPS to .960 on the season.
Fueled by Taijeron’s power display, the Mets racked up five extra-base hits in the second game, two of which came in the seventh inning to help stop a three-game losing streak. Gomez, who entered the matchup just 4-for-26 in his previous nine games, opened the inning with a leadoff double and scored the winning run on T.J. Rivera‘s bloop single. The Mets added an insurance run on a passed ball before Estarlin Morel and Hamilton Bennett worked a scoreless bottom half.
St. Lucie returns home to open a four-game set against last-place Lakeland on Monday, the first time the Mets have faced the Flying Tigers this season. Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 2.73 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener, according to the team’s radio broadcast. His previous outing was abbreviated by a rain delay that limited him to 2.1 innings against Jupiter. The right-hander will be followed by Alex Panteliodis (Tuesday), Rainy Lara (Wednesday) and Domingo Tapia (Thursday).
Key Stats (combined for doubleheader)
T.J. Rivera: 3-for-5, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Matt Reynolds: 2-for-7, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI
Dustin Lawley: 2-for-6, 2 BB, 2 2B
Aderlin Rodriguez: 2-for-7, 1 BB
Travis Taijeron: 3-for-5, 2 BB, 3 HR, 3 RBI
Charley Thurber: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jonathan Clark: 2-for-2, 1 BB, 1 R
Angel Cuan: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 6 K
Matthew Bowman: 5.0, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 2 K