The St. Lucie Mets used a four-run third and a four-run fifth to defeat the Charlotte Stone Crabs 8-4 at Tradition Field.
The win by the Mets ended Charlotte’s eight-game winning streak.
Rob Whalen earned his first win in six starts. The Mets right hander only received 10 total runs by the Mets’ offense in his first five starts. When Whalen departed after six innings the Mets were up 8-3.
A big error on the Stone Crabs helped the cause. With the bases loaded and two outs in the third, Matt Oberste grounded a ball to third baseman Pat Blair. Blair tried to get the force out at second but threw the ball wide into right field and two runs scored.
Dominic Smith delivered a two-run single off of Chris Kirsch on the next pitch to put the Mets up 4-0.
The Crabs got a run back in the third on a hit by Max Tissenbaum to make it 4-1. After Whalen struck out the first two batters of the fifth, he issued a walk and surrendered two doubles down the third base line to allow two runs to make it 4-3.
The Mets answered immediately in their half of the fifth. Kirsch began the inning by plunking Jeff McNeil and walking Miakis De La Cruz. Oberste followed with a single to load the bases with nobody out. Smith drew a walk to force a run home for a 5-3 lead. It was Smith’s eighth RBI in the last four games.
Kirsch was removed and Isaac Gil entered, only to throw a wild pitch and give up back-to-back RBI singles to Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena that put the Mets up 8-3.
Whalen pitched a clean sixth and turned the game over to the bullpen. Mike Hepple retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth. Kyle Regnault allowed a harmless run to score in the ninth.
Whalen gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out six. He now has quality starts in four of his six outings.
Kirsch, who shut out the Mets over seven innings in Charlotte, was tagged for eight runs (four earned) in four innings.
McNeil went 2 for 4 and increased his batting average to .350 which leads all active Florida State League players.
Rosario and Urena had two hits apiece. Team press release