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Tarpons survive for 7-5 win over Mets

Met steal season-high 9 bases in loss
September 1, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. (September 1, 2023) – The Tampa Tarpons hit another critical three-run homer and overcame four errors to defeat the St. Lucie Mets 7-5 at Steinbrenner Field on Friday night. The Mets stole a season-high nine stolen bases and Wilfredo Lara crushed his team-leading 14th home run, but the

TAMPA, Fla. (September 1, 2023) – The Tampa Tarpons hit another critical three-run homer and overcame four errors to defeat the St. Lucie Mets 7-5 at Steinbrenner Field on Friday night.

The Mets stole a season-high nine stolen bases and Wilfredo Lara crushed his team-leading 14th home run, but the Mets losing streak hit seven games as they went just 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position.

Lara’s blast, a two-run shot in the third inning off Nolberto Henriquez, gave the Mets a 3-1 lead.

The Tarpons produced a big inning despite just one hit in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead for good. Mets reliever Wilson Esterlin walked the first four batters of the inning. An errant pickoff throw scored a run to make it 3-2. After an out at home plate and a strikeout, the Mets were on the verge of surviving the inning with the one-run lead. However, Jackson Castillo crushed a three-run homer against Brawny Reyes to put Tampa up 5-3.

The Mets got within a run a couple of times but the Tarpons were able to answer back. Nick Morabito singled home Jose Hernandez with two outs in the sixth to make it 5-4. Tayler Aguilar doubled and stole third base in the bottom of the sixth. He scored on a double play to put Tampa back up two, 6-4.

Karell Paz scored on a fielding error in the eighth inning to make it a 6-5 game. In the bottom of the inning the Tarpons scored on another errant pickoff throw for a 7-5 advantage.

Ronald Hernandez reached second base on an error in the top of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Tarpons reliever Alex Bustamante entered and struck out Lara for the second out and got Yeral Martinez to pop out to end the game.

Esterlin took the loss for the Mets. He did not give up a hit over 1.1 innings but walked four and allowed three runs.

Hayden Merda picked up the win for Tampa. He held the Mets hitless and scoreless over 1.2 innings despite walking four batters.

Seven of the nine Mets batters recorded a hit but no Met had a multi-hit game.

Morabito was 1 for 3 with a single, walk, hit-by-pitch and four stolen bases.

Mets two-way player Nolan McLean made his team debut as the starting pitcher. He was charged with one run over 1.1 innings. He did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out one. He did not bat.

New York Yankees pitcher Luis Gil (Tommy John surgery) made his first rehab appearance. He started and allowed one run on three hits in 2.0 innings.

The Mets (40-81, 16-40) and Tarpons (59-63, 28-28) play the third game of their series at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.