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Mets capture FSL Championship

Hold on for 6-2 victory over Jays, second title in four years
September 11, 2006
The St. Lucie Mets secured their second Florida State League title in four years with a 6-2 victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays on Sunday behind Jesus Flores' 4-for-4 performance.

Fernando Martinez slammed a leadoff homer in the third inning and Jose Coronado doubled and scored on Mike Carp's two-out single to give the Mets an early 2-0 advantage. Carp also singled with two outs in the fifth before Flores doubled him home.

Flores led St. Lucie's 15-hit attack and batted .471 in the postseason. The 21-year-old catcher singled and stole a base in the seventh before being nailed at the plate on a fielder's choice by Alhaji Turay. "That just shows what kind of player he can definitely be," said Mets manager and Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter.

Jonathan Malo hit an RBI single to spark a three-run seventh. After reliever Yesson Berroa hit Fernando Martinez to load the bases, Coronado lifted a sacrifice fly and Corey Coles followed with a run-scoring single to make it 6-1.

St. Lucie starter Jose Sanchez (2-0) blanked the Blue Jays through the sixth, ultimately giving up one run on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander struck out four and walked four.

Kevin Tomasiewicz recorded the last out in the seventh but was charged with a run in the eighth as Joseph Serfass gave up an RBI single to Eric Arnold. Serfass got into a bases-loaded jam after walking Chris Gutierrez, but retired Aaron Mathews to end the inning.

Carlos Muniz replaced Serfass with two outs and runners on second and third in the ninth. Carlo Cota hit a fly ball to center field and the Mets, except Flores, started to rush the field. But Cota was awarded first base on catcher's interference.

"They didn't realize it was catcher's interference, but I did," Carter said.

Muniz struck out Scott Dragicevich on three pitches to notch his fifth save of the postseason and really start the celebration.

"It may be once in a lifetime, so savor it, enjoy it," said Carter, who won the title in his first season with St. Lucie. "We knew it wasn't going to be an easy task by any means.

The Mets won all five of their playoff games, taking the first two in the best-of-5 Championship Series with ninth-inning rallies.

Dunedin starter Eric Fowler (0-1) surrendered three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks in five innings.

Robinzon Diaz delivered a run-scoring double to put the Blue Jays on the board in the seventh. Cory Patton had three of Dunedin's 12 hits and scored once.

Marissa Rega is a contributor to