Tampa Falls Short, 9-8, as St. Lucie Blisters Bullpen

Pita Tallies Career-High 4 RBI; Rony Garcia Goes 5 Strong

Matt Pita (3-for-4, 2 2Bs, 4 RBI, SB) tallied a career-best 4 RBI in Tampa's 9-8 loss to St. Lucie on Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Mark LoMoglio)

By Nick Flammia / Tampa Tarpons | April 9, 2019 10:17 PM

TAMPA, Fla. - The Mets rallied for eight runs off the Tarpons' bullpen as Tampa saw a 3-1 lead turn into a 9-8 loss on Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. St. Lucie tallied a season-high 16 hits after previously having no more than six in any of its prior five games.


For the second-straight night, Blake Tiberi began the game with a double to right. One out later, Tiberi scored when rehabber Todd Frazier singled into center, giving St. Lucie (3-3) a 1-0 lead.


RHP Rony Garcia held the Mets scoreless for the rest of his outing, yielding three base runners after the first inning. The 21-year-old allowed one run on five hits in five innings, walking one whiles striking out seven, throwing 60 of 87 pitches for strikes.


Pablo Olivares walked and advanced to third on a double by Oswaldo Cabrera before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Dermis Garcia , tying the game for Tampa (2-4) in the first.


St. Lucie starter Kevin Smith walked both Donny Sands and Tyler Hill in the second, and Sands scored on a double by Matt Pita . Hill then crossed the plate on a groundout by Diego Castillo , giving the Tarpons a 3-1 lead.


Smith allowed three runs on three hits in four innings, walking three while striking out four. The left-hander threw 46 of 70 pitches for strikes.


RHP Kyle Zurak relieved Garcia in the sixth and the Mets got a run back when Quinn Brodey doubled and scored on a base hit by Desmond Lindsay.


Zurak (L, 0-1)(BS, 1) returned for the seventh and Manny Rodriguez hit a leadoff single before advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Tiberi. Zurak then struck out Carlos Cortes, but the batter reached on a passed ball by catcher Donny Sands. One out later, Brodey lined a go-ahead, two-run double to left and scored on a single to right by Lindsay.


RHP Yeizo Campos (W, 1-0) kept Tampa scoreless in the fifth and sixth before walking Hill to begin the seventh. Hill then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Nick Meyer before scoring on a groundout by Pita, cutting the deficit to 5-4.


RHP Greg Weissert took over for Zurak in the eighth and St. Lucie loaded the bases with no outs. Tiberi plated a run with a groundout before Cortes lined a two-run single to right, giving the Mets an 8-4 lead.


Cabrera singled off RHP Joe Cavallaro to open the bottom of the eighth. Two outs later, Sands singled, and Chris Hess walked, loading the bases. Cavallaro then walked Hill, forcing home Cabrera. Pita followed with a two-run double into right-center, cutting the deficit to 8-7.


Lindsay pulled a leadoff double to right in the ninth for his fourth hit of the game. One out later, Cody Bohanek collected his fourth hit, driving in Lindsay with a single to center.


Tampa put the tying runs on base when Olivares and Cabrera walked to begin the bottom of the ninth off LHP Blake Taylor. Olivares then beat a play at the plate, scoring on a single to left by Garcia. Taylor (SV, 2) then got Isiah Gilliam to bounce into a 5-3 double-play before striking out Sands to end the game.


Pita (3-for-4, 2 2Bs, 4RBI, SB) tallied a career-high 4 RBI and has hit safely in four-straight games. Cabrera (2-for-3, 2B, 2BB, R) extended his hitting streak to five games. Hess (0-for-3, BB, R) extended his on-base streak to five games.


The Tarpons will send RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 0.00) to the mound against RHP Briam Campusano (0-1, 6.75) when the series continues on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Live play-by-play audio will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.


On "WOWW Wednesday," fans can enjoy half-priced Wings, Wine and White Claws from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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