ST. LUCIE - The Fort Myers Miracle and St. Lucie Mets split a doubleheader at Tradition Field Saturday evening. The Miracle won game one 3-0, but lost two 2-0.
In game one, the Miracle took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Mets starter Michael Fulmer exited after three pitches. Miracle leadoff hitter Jorge Polanco struck Fulmer (2-7) with a line drive and St. Lucie had to bring in reliever Julian Hilario. Polanco stole second base and then moved to third on a groundout by Aderling Mejia. Lance Ray then struck a fly ball out to center that scored Polanco to put the Miracle up a run.
In the top of fourth, Adam Brett Walker singled to begin the frame off Mets reliever Jake Kuebler. After Dalton Hicks flew out and Travis Harrison struck out, Mike Gonzales singled into center field to push Walker to third. With Stuart Turner at the plate, Kuebler tossed a pitch that went to the backstop and allowed Walker to score standing.
Ray added to the Miracle advantage with his second RBI of the game in the fifth. Max Kepler started the rally with a base hit into center. After a Polanco swinging third strike, Kepler stole second base. Mejia hit a grounder to the right side to move Kepler to third. Ray then hit a low grounder past the first and into right field to bring in Kepler, 3-0.
Miracle starter Tim Shibuya went the distance in a seven inning, complete game shutout. Shibuya (5-2) allowed just five hits with no walks and one strike out while facing just four over the minimum. Since giving up two runs in his first start on June 5, Shibuya has now tossed 19.1 scoreless innings consecutively.
Fulmer took the loss despite throwing just three pitches. Julian Hilario pitched three scoreless in relief for the Mets and Kuebler allowed two runs on five hits in three innings.
In game two, the Mets struck first with a run in the second inning off Miracle starter Steven Gruver. Aderlin Rodriguez began the inning with a single into right. Gruver (1-5) then issued a walk to Gilbert Gomez.
Albert Cordero then hit into a force out at third base, but Harrison's attempt to turn two failed on a low throw to first. The ball bounced away from Mike Gonzales and Gomez moved over to third. With runners on the corners, Maikis De La Cruz laid down bunt that went right back to the pitcher. Gruver's throw was off-target and Gomez scored while eluding a tag from catcher Jairo Rodriguez, 1-0.
Jairo Perez picked up an insurance run for St. Lucie in the bottom of the fifth inning. Eudy Pina reached on an error by Polanco at short, then Gavin Cecchini rolled a base hit on the infield to put two aboard. Jeff McNeil laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Miracle reliever Brandon Peterson then got L.J. Mazzilli to pop up on the infield for the second out. Perez then hit a chopper to the left side that was knocked down by Polanco, but no throw was made to first and Pina scored, 2-0.
Mets starter Matt Koch went 5.2 innings for the win. Allowing just three hits, Koch mowed through the Miracle lineup with no strikeouts, one walk and had a stretch of 15 in a row retired. Koch improved to 7-2.
Paul Sewald recorded the final three outs for his first save of the season.
Gruver was tagged with the loss in a Miracle bullpen day. Brian Gilbert tossed two scoreless innings and Brandon Peterson gave up one unearned run on two hits over two innings.
The Miracle (42-30, 1-2) head to Charlotte for a Sunday match-up with the Stone Crabs.