TAMPA, Fla. - For the second time in four nights, the Yankees scored nine unanswered runs to pick up a win, outlasting the Mets, 11-5, on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa (31-15, 70-46) became the first team in the Florida State League to reach 70 wins and also won its 13th consecutive home game.
A crowd of 3,232 came out to witness a St. Lucie (20-27, 53-62) team that features former Florida Gator Tim Tebow. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, however, did not start the game. Tebow, instead, entered defensively in the eighth inning, but would not have a plate appearance.
Trey Amburgey drew a leadoff walk in the second against Mets' starter Scarlyn Reyes. Amburgey stole second and advanced to third on the first of, what would be, four St. Lucie errors before trotting home on a two-run home run by Gosuke Katoh . The blast hooked just inside the right field foul pole for Katoh's sixth of the year.
LHP Chaz Hebert made his third start since joining Tampa and cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.
Six-straight Mets reached base, including an RBI double by Tampa native Peter Alonso. A squeeze bunt by Wuilmer Bacerra and a hit-by-pitch to Jeff McNeil also drove in runs. A pair of sacrifice flies by Jose Garcia and J.C. Rodriguez capped the five-run frame, giving St. Lucie a 5-2 lead.
Hebert allowed five earned runs on five hits and two hit-batters in four innings, walking one while striking out one and throwing 45 of 65 pitches for strikes.
Tampa rallied to tie the game against Reyes in the fifth when five-straight Yankees reached base. Hoy Jun Park walked and scored when Kyle Holder legged out an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by McNeil at second. Estevan Florial followed with an RBI single and promptly stole second before going to third on an infield single by Chris Gittens and scoring on a double by Tim Lynch .
Reyes surrendered five earned runs on six hits in four and a third innings, walking four while striking out four and throwing 53 of 93 pitches for strikes.
The T-Yanks batted around to take the lead in a five-run seventh. Holder and Florial lined back-to-back singles off RHP Austin McGeorge (L, 1-2). Gittens reached on a fielder's choice and Holder scored on a missed catch error by McNeil.
RHP Craig Missigman relieved McGeorge and, one out later, Trey Amburgey reached on a fielding error by Michael Paez at shortstop. Later, both Gittens and Amburgey scored on a two-out double by Alexander Palma . Wes Wilson tacked on an RBI single before Missigman ended the inning.
Gittens punctuated the win with a solo home run to left for his ninth of the season.
RHP Bringnel Mendez (W, 1-0) earned the win in his Tampa debut, holding the Mets to one hit and one walk while striking out one over three scoreless relief innings. Mendez joined the Yankees from the Gulf Coast League prior to the game.
RHP Joe Harvey stranded a single and a walk while striking out three in a pair of shutout frames to close out the win.
Holder (3-for-5, 2R, SB) logged his third three-hit game in his last six games, batting .367 (11-for-30) in that span. Florial (2-for-4, BB, RBI, 2R, SB) has hit safely in all eight games since rejoining Tampa, batting .324 (11-for-34). Gittens (2-for-4, HR, BB, RBI, 2R), Lynch (2-for-5, 2B, RBI) and Palma (2-for-4, 2B, 2RBI, R) also had multi-hit games.
The series continues on Friday at 7:00 p.m. RHP Adonis Rosa (0-0, -.--) is slated to start, making his Tampa debut, against RHP Nabil Crismatt (4-10, 3.62 ERA). On Wing Deal Fridays, fans can get all-you-can-eat chicken wings from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. for $10. For more information, call (813) 673-3055 or visit www.tybaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.