Cunningham, Marauders maul Mets

Bradenton uses 10-run first inning to rout first-place St. Lucie

Jarek Cunningham is tied for the Florida State League lead with six homers. (Bradenton Marauders)

By John Parker / Special to | April 26, 2011 6:26 PM ET

Jarek Cunningham helped the Bradenton Marauders pounce on the Florida State League's best pitching staff.

Cunningham singled and slugged a three-run homer as the Mauraders used a 10-run first inning to rout the visiting St. Lucie Mets, 12-6, on Tuesday night.

The Marauders, who extended their winning streak to five games, sent 14 men to the plate and collected seven hits in the opening frame.

"That was the first time I've ever had two hits in an inning," Cunningham said. "In the first at-bat, I had two strikes and kind of fought off a curveball for an infield hit. The homer was on a 1-0 fastball inside."

The 2008 18th-round pick added a solo shot in the seventh and is tied for the league with six homers.

Robbie Grossman opened the big inning by singling to left and Cunningham followed with an infield hit. Evan Chambers walked to load the bases and Aaron Baker's sacrifice fly put Bradenton on the board. When St. Lucie starter Collin McHugh (1-1) fanned Adalberto Santos for the second out, it seemed like the damage might be limited to one run. But the Marauders were just getting started.

Ramon Cabrera walked to reload the bases, David Rubinstein singled in another run, Elevys Gonzalez delivered a two-run double and came home on a double by Benji Gonzalez and Grossman walked to finish McHugh's night.

The 23-year-old right-hander was charged with eight runs on five hits and three walks as his ERA climbed from 3.60 to 8.04.

Eric Beaulac's second pitch resulted in Cunningham's three-run blast. After another walk and a single, Santos struck out again to end the inning.

While Cunningham led the Marauders with two homers and four RBIs, Rubinstein collected three hits and two RBIs and Elevys Gonzalez doubled twice and drove in three runs while lifting his average to .411 -- third-best in the league.

Santos atoned for his two-strikeout inning with a pair of singles.

Bradenton starter Nathan Baker (2-0) allowed one run on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out two.

The Mets entered with a league-leading 17-2 record and 2.66 ERA. They'd won seven straight games and were 11-0 on the road.

"We knew they were in first place coming in," Cunningham said. "But we've got a pretty close-knit group here and everyone is always playing hard, no matter who we're up against."

John Parker 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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