Flores leads St. Lucie to Game 1 win

No. 2 Mets prospect starts rally that puts club a win from Finals

Wilmer Flores led Florida State League shortstops with 81 RBIs in 2011. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com | September 6, 2011 7:07 PM

Wilmer Flores showed people why he's considered one of New York's top prospects Tuesday.

The Mets' top position prospect doubled and scored a run as Class A Advanced St. Lucie rallied to a 4-2 win over Bradenton in the first game of the Florida State League playoffs.

With the Mets trailing in the sixth, 2-0, Flores lofted a shot to shallow left field and hustled into second base with a two-out double. Stefan Welch singled home the 20-year-old old shortstop to cut the deficit in half.

"He's a guy that you want playing for you," St. Lucie manager Pedro Lopez said of Flores. "He's only 20 years old, but he plays the game at a more mature level. He's a good guy to have on your ballclub. He gives you quality at-bats and plays the game right."

St. Lucie scratched out another run in the seventh, setting the stage for Jose Coronado's heroics in the ninth. Flores' double-play partner hit a two-run double with two outs, giving the Mets their first lead of the game.

"Mainly we got him for the defense, but it was nice for him come up with that big hit," Lopez said. "I'm glad he was able to handle that pitch, the kid [Diego Moreno] was throwing the ball really well."

Flores, who also walked, has been a consistent run producer in the Mets lineup this season. Signed as a non-drafted free agent on Aug. 6, 2007, the Venezuelan hit .269 with nine homers and was fifth in the league with 81 RBIs in 133 games. Lopez, who also managed Flores in 2008 with Kingsport and '10 with Savannah, raved about the shortstop.

"I'm just glad that I'm able to have him for a third year, he's come a long way since our first year in Kingsport when he was 16 years old," Lopez said. "He's made big strides and having that presence in the third spot in your lineup is a great feeling for a manager."

Darin Gorski, the league ERA leader at 2.08 during the regular season, kept the Mets in the game after allowing a run in the first. The 23-year-old left-hander ended up giving up a pair of runs on six hits and struck out six over seven innings in the no-decision.

"It was tremendous, that was the kind of game we were expecting from him," Lopez said. "You talk about Cinderella season, he's done everything in order for him to pitch in a ballgame like this. Bradenton's got a good team, but like I told the guys, good pitching stops good hitting. He went out there and executed his pitches. He did a great job for us, and it's a great way to start the first round."

John Church got the win with a hitless inning of relief, and Jeffrey Kaplan struck out the side in the ninth to notch the save.

The best-of-3 series shifts to St. Lucie for Game 2 on Wednesday.

In other Florida State League playoff action:
Blue Jays 4, Cubs 3 (10 innings)

Dunedin's Jon Talley singled in the 10th inning and came around to score on a throwing error by Daytona catcher Chad Noble to lead the Blue Jays in Game 1. Ryan Goins and Brad McElroy hit solo homers in the win. Box score

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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