'Crabs Blank Mets 3-0
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (July 20, 2015) - The Stone Crabs have made a habit of shutting out their opponents recently, harkening back to those special days in the first half when they had the best staff ERA in all of baseball. At the time, they could skate with some less than stellar offensive performances while Jacob Faria, Ryne Stanek, Chris Kirsch, and Blake Snell carried them to the bullpen. Monday night's game against the Mets belonged to Taylor Guerrieri, who got stretched out for five innings for the first time since July 1, 2013. He got help along the way from Mike Marjama and Marty Gantt, who hit home runs for the game's only offense in a 3-0 win to even the series at a game apiece.
Guerrieri's counterpart was Casey Meisner, who had won his first three decisions in the Florida State League to go along with a 2.16 ERA. After both sides went in order in the first, the Mets loaded the bases in the second following singles by Dominic Smith and Stefan Sabol, and a ball that hit third baseman Phillip Evans. Guerrieri soon attacked with a strikeout of Yeixon Ruiz, and got a double play ball off the bat of catcher Colton Plaia to retire the side.
In the third, the 'Crabs wasted a prime opportunity after Armando Araiza led off with a double into right center that was nearly caught by sprawling center fielder Champ Stuart. Jace Conrad flied out to deep right, and Araiza tagged up to third with just one out. Andrew Velazquez came up with the infield drawn in, and pulled a chopper down the first base line that was snagged by a diving Smith for the second out. Meisner then retired Kean Wong to leave the runner at third and keep the game scoreless as they headed to the fourth.
Starting with the strikeout of Ruiz in the second, Guerrieri (2-2) scared himself straight and retired the last 11 Mets hitters he faced after coming out in the sixth. He finally got a little help when Willy Adames showed his recent turnaround is no fluke with a leadoff single in the fourth. Meisner (3-1) quickly struck out Marjama and Granden Goetzman before Gantt ran into one and sent it into the Mets bullpen in left for his fourth home run and a 2-0 lead.
St. Lucie also went to its bullpen in the sixth, with lefthander Paul Paez getting the first call. Adames ripped another shot to lead off the inning, but this time it was caught by Sabol in left for the first out. On his 26th birthday, it was Marjama lighting the fuse with a rising line drive that just snuck over the left field wall for his sixth home run and a 3-0 advantage. It matches a career high for the newly installed first baseman, who also slugged six in 2013 in 97 games with the Kannapolis Intimidators in the South Atlantic League.
The next three innings belonged to Steve Ascher, who allowed just one hit with four strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 1.49. In the eighth, Andrew Velazquez and Adames picked up their second hits of the night, but were stranded in scoring position to keep the save situation intact for Isaac Gil. The big righthander from the Bronx surrendered a one out double to Victor Cruzado, but nailed down his third save on a night when the Mets were limited to just four hits.
The series concludes on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM when Greg Harris (7-5, 2.17 ERA in Bowling Green) makes his Stone Crabs debut against Kevin McGowan (5-8, 4.25 ERA). You can follow all the action by listening to the game on www.stonecrabsbaseball.com via TuneIn Radio, or tuning into 91.7 FM-WVIJ in the Port Charlotte area. The Stone Crabs Pregame Show starts at 6:40 PM on the Stone Crabs Radio Network!
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