Cruz puts St. Lucie on brink of title

Second baseman cranks go-ahead homer in ninth against Dunedin

(Jerry Hale/

September 9, 2006 6:30 PM ET

Enrique Cruz's three-run homer lifted St. Lucie over Dunedin, 5-3, on Saturday, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 Florida State League Championship Series.

The Mets trailed in the ninth inning, 3-1. Caleb Stewart singled and scored on Mike Carp's double. Jesus Flores was intentionally walked before Cruz connected off reliever Connor Falkenbach (0-1) to move St. Lucie within one victory of the title.

Marcelo Perez (1-0) picked up the win in relief by retiring the final two batters with the bases loaded in the eighth. Carlos Muniz struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth postseason save.

St. Lucie, which scored three runs in the ninth in Friday's series-opening 7-5 victory, can wrap up the championship at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday at Tradition Field.

The Blue Jays built a 3-0 lead behind six scoreless innings from starter Russ Savickas, who allowed four hits and two walks while striking out nine.

But Carp, who went 3-for-4, greeted reliever Jeremy King with a leadoff single in the seventh and scored when Cruz grounded into a double play later in the inning.

Carlo Cota delivered an RBI double during a two-run first for Dunedin. He also singled and scored on Eric Arnold's base hit in the sixth.

Eric Justic is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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