PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla (Aug. 9, 2017) - Ray-Patrick Didder gave the Florida Fire Frogs the early lead, but the visitors could not hold on in a tight, 6-5 loss to the St. Lucie Mets on Wednesday night at First Data Field. The defeat extended the Fire Frogs' road losing streak to 13 consecutive games.
Didder (3x4, R, HR, 2 RBI) slugged a one-out solo shot in the top of the first to give Florida (14-27, 39-68) the 1-0 advantage, but St. Lucie (20-26, 53-61) to advantage of a throwing error by Sal Giardina at third to knot the game at one apiece in the home half of the opening frame.
The Mets tallied three runs in the third to jump in front of Enderson Franco and the Fire Frogs. J.C. Rodriguez doubled to start the inning, and Jeff McNeil singled the runner over to third after John Mora popped out for the first out.
Franco came within an out of escaping the jam by inducing a popup off the bat of Peter Alonso for the second out, but Jhoan Urena hit a three-run shot over the wall in right to put the Fire Frogs in a three-run deficit.
The right-handed starter tossed his sixth quality start of the year in the finale. Despite allowing five runs, only three were earned on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts. The 24-year-old needed 101 pitches on the through 6.1 innings, with 69 going for strikes.
Giardina (1x4, RBI) made up for his first-inning error by singling home Alay Lago (1x4, R) in the top of the fourth to pull the road team within two, but the Mets, again, responded with a run of their own on an RBI groundout by Wuilmer Becerra.
Florida chipped away at the three-run disadvantage with a two-spot in the fifth. Alejandro Salazar (1x4, R, 2B) started things off with a two-bagger, and advanced to third on a grounder to Urena at third from Anfernee Seymour (2x4, R). Stephen Gaylor (1x5, R, RBI) pushed Salazar across the plate with an infield single to short to make it a 5-3 score.
Didder kept the line moving with a single to left to move Gaylor up to second. Lago flew out to center for the second out of the frame, and Brett Cumberland (2x4, 2B, RBI) drove home the man from second with a line-drive single to right to pull Florida within a run.
Didder took advantage of Seymour's lead-off triple in the seventh by plating the runner with a liner to left to tie the game at five.
Chase Johnson-Mullins (0-4) retired the three batters he faced out of the bullpen, but Anthony Dimino singled with one out in the decisive eighth. Becerra advanced the runner to second on a grounder through the hole on the left side of the infield, leading to Tim Tebow's go-ahead, RBI single to right.
Johnny Maggliozzi (5-1) allowed a two-out single to Seymour in the ninth, but got the game-ending ground out from Gaylor to complete the sweep for St. Lucie.
Florida continues its road trip with games doubleheader on Thursday night to start a five-game series against the Jupiter Hammerheads at Roger Dean Stadium. Atlanta Braves' first-round draft pick RHP Kyle Wright (0-0, 0.00) makes his third start of the season at the High-A level in the series opener for the Fire Frogs against RHP Cody Poteet (3-4, 3.70) for the Hammerheads.
LHP Oriel Caicedo (1-3, 5.40) takes the mound for game two for Florida, while Jupiter will send out LHP James Buckelew (1-3, 2.03).
First pitch of the twin bill is set for 4:30 p.m.
The Fire Frogs return home on Monday, Aug. 14 to take on the Tampa Yankees for game one of a four-game series at Osceola County Stadium. Every Monday is "Margarita Monday" at the ballpark, where fans can enjoy $2 margaritas and $2 empanadas. All Monday through Wednesday home games are "Service Industry Night" in Kissimmee, where members of the service industry may purchase tickets at a discounted rate.
About the Florida Fire Frogs
The Florida Fire Frogs are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and compete in the Florida State League. The Fire Frogs play their home games at Osceola County Stadium, located at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. For more information, please visit www.FloridaFireFrogs.com, and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.