ST. LUCIE - Robbie Shields capped a two-run rally in the ninth inning with a walk-off RBI single to lift the St. Lucie Mets to a 4-3 win over the Fort Myers Miracle Wednesday night.
In the eighth, the Miracle broke a 2-2 tie. With one out, Mets reliever Carlos Vasquez plunked Stephen Wickens. Then, D.J. Hicks sliced a 2-1 pitch down the left field line for a double that scored Wickens and gave the Miracle a 3-2 lead.
After navigating two hits in a scoreless eighth, Miracle reliever Tyler Jones returned for the ninth inning. Dustin Lawley greeted Jones (0-2) with a bloop single into right. After Jayce Boyd was retired on a fly out to right, Rylan Sandoval also dropped a base hit into right field to put two runners aboard. Matt Reynolds smoked a line drive up the middle to plate Lawley and tie the game, 3-3. The next batter, Robbie Shields, hit a 1-2 pitch from Jones into left center field. Sandoval raced around third and scored the game-winning run.
Shields finished the evening 3-for-4.
The Miracle got off to a good start and built a 2-0 lead. In the first, Byron Buxton drew a walk to start the game. Buxton then stole second. After Mets starter Domingo Tapia struckout Levi Michael, Wickens smacked a single into left to bring in Buxton.
In the third, J.D. Williams reached on a one-out throwing error by Shields at third base. Williams then swiped second and moved to third on a base hit from Buxton. Michael then hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Charley Thurber, but plated Williams for a sacrifice fly.
The Mets answered in the bottom of the third with a run-scoring single by Thurber to cut the Fort Myers lead to 2-1. The Miracle led by a run until the seventh when Dustin Lawley hit his league leading 25th home run off Fort Myers starter Taylor Rogers. Lawley hammered a first pitch over the left field fence to knot the game 2-2.
Rogers received a no decision and allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
Buxton finished the night 2-for-3 with three stolen bases and extended his hitting streak to eight games. With his RBI single in the first, Wickens has now hit in nine consecutive games.
Tapia also received a no decision and gave up two runs in six innings with three walks and three punchouts. Vasquez (1-0) pitched the eighth and ninth to pick up the win.
The Miracle (70-47, 25-25) return to Tradition Field for the final time in the 2013 regular season to face the Mets (65-49, 28-19) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.