Posted by Mack Ade at 6:00 AM
The St. Lucie Mets beat the Lakeland Flying Tigers 6-3 at Tradition Field for their season-high fourth win in a row.
Dominic Smith sparked the Mets with a three-run double in the first, Jeff McNeil went 4 for 5 and Josh Smoker blew away the Flying Tigers late to earn his second save.
The Mets offense set a new high with 10 walks.
The Mets led wire-to-wire. Smith launched a bases-loaded double off the wall in left field in the first inning to clear the bags and give the Mets a 3-0 lead. He scored one pitch later on a single by Miakis De La Cruz that deflected off pitcher Ryan Longstreth into right field.
Longsteth came into the game having given up four total runs in his last six starts. He was tagged for four runs on three hits in the first inning.
The Flying Tigers clawed their way back into the game with a run in the second, and they cut the Mets lead to 4-3 with Dominic Ficociello’s RBI single and Ben Verlander’s RBI sac fly in the third.
Mets starter Miller Diaz was able to settle down and retire nine of the next 10 batters. He was lifted after giving up a walk and a hit with two outs in the sixth.
Mike Hepple came in and walked David Gonzalez to load the bases. However, Hepple got Jiwan James to line out to Champ Stuart in center to get out of the inning unscathed.
McNeil provided a big insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh, his fourth hit of the game. Matt Oberste later drew a bases loaded walk in the seventh to bring home Yeixon Ruiz and put the Mets up 6-3.
Smoker was electric in the final two innings on the mound. He struck out two in the eighth and struck out the first two in the ninth. After allowing a two-out single, the lefty came back and froze Raph Rhymes with a changeup for his fifth strikeout to end the game.
Smoker now has 10 strikeouts in six innings. He has given up two singles and no runs. It was his second save.
Diaz notched his second win in his last three starts. He allowed three runs on four hits and four walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out four.
Longstreth recovered from his rough first inning to blank the Mets over the next four. He was lifted after the fifth.
Three Flying Tigers relievers – Brennan Smith, Will Clinard and Nate Fury – combined to walk seven batters over the final three innings. Team press release