Brendan McKay's return to the mound couldn't have gone better.
Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect allowed one hit and struck out five without a walk over three innings in his first action on the bump since June 11. Class A Advanced Charlotte eventually fell to St. Lucie, 6-5, on Thursday.
Gameday box score
McKay was sidelined in mid-June with oblique tightness and began rehabbing on July 9 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He made his return to the Stone Crabs lineup on July 18 and has picked up one hit in eight at-bats in two games.
On Thursday, the left-hander allowed just one baserunner in his first Florida State League start since June. He allowed five runs in 2 2/3 frames against Dunedin on June 11.
After striking out Gladu for his first strikeout of the game, McKay gave up a single to Michael Paez with two outs in the first inning before sitting down the last seven he faced. He fanned the side in the third, all looking. Quinn Brodey also was punched out at the end of the second, giving him four consecutive strikeouts.
McKay sports a 2-2 record and a 4.10 ERA over 26 1/3 innings in the Florida State League. He's struck out 34 while walking only four.
The two-way talent last played on July 19, going 0-for-4 while playing first base against Jupiter. He has batted .190 in 16 games with the Florida State League. He was hitting at a .254 clip in the Midwest League with Class A Bowling Green before being called up. He went 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 24 2/3 frames for the Hot Rods.
Tristan Gray homered and drove in two runs while Jake Fraley doubled, singled, plated one run and scored another for the Stone Crabs.
Raphael Gladu smacked a walkoff single that drove in Gene Cone with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Dale Burdick belted a ground-rule double and Riley O'Brien was intentionally walked to set up the game-winner.
Burdick doubled twice and Paez added two hits, an RBI and a run for the Mets.