The Fort Myers Miracle scored eight unanswered runs after an early six-run deficit for an 8-6 win over the St. Lucie Mets Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.
The Mets blitzed Miracle starter B.J. Hermsen for six runs on six hits in the first inning. After getting Gavin Cecchini to fly out, Maikis De La Cruz singled and L.J. Mazzilli followed with a double down the third base line. Jairo Perez started the scoring with a sacrifice fly out to center field to bring in De La Cruz. Cam Maron then doubled off the top of the wall in left field to plate Mazzilli. Aderlin Rodriguez pushed the lead to 3-0 with a base hit into right field.
After a mound visit from Miracle pitching coach Gary Lucas, Hermsen walked Cole Frenzel. With runners at first and second, Gilbert Gomez hit a high chopper to short. Niko Goodrum's throw bounced in the dirt and allowed Rodriguez to score. Eudy Pina, the ninth man to hit in the inning, then laced a base hit into left to bring in two more Mets runs and bring the damage to 6-0.
Fort Myers answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning. The Miracle sent 11 hitters to the plate and knocked Mets starter John Lannan out of the game after just 1/3 inning. Lannan walked Jorge Polanco and Goodrum to begin the frame. Then, with a 1-2 count on Nate Roberts the game was delayed 20 minutes due to a nearby lightning strike. When play resumed, Roberts smoked a line drive into right field to bring home Polanco.
Lannan struck out Adam Brett Walker, but walked Lance Ray to load the bases. The next batter, Stuart Turner, picked up an RBI on a bases loaded free pass. Lannan exited and Mets reliever Seth Lugo took over on the mound. Dalton Hicks rolled the first pitch from Lugo (4-1) in the game through the right side to plate another Miracle run. Max Kepler then hit a hard grounder that skipped off the mound and into center field to score two and cut the Mets lead to 6-5.
Combined with a lightning delay, the first inning took one hour and two minutes to play and featured 21 hitters, 11 runs, nine hits, six walks, three different pitchers and an error.
After the rocky first inning, Hermsen calmed down and dealt three scoreless innings before exiting the game. The Miracle offense took Hermsen off the hook with a run in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. With two outs, Goodrum roped a pitch from Lugo into right field. Then, on a 1-0 pitch, Roberts smacked a double into center field over Gilbert Gomez's head and Goodrum raced home, 6-6.
Roberts finished 3-for-4 with a double, run scored, two driven in and has seven hits in his last nine at-bats.
In the fifth, Ray gave the Miracle a lead for the first time with a deep solo homer to right field. On an 0-1 pitch from Lugo, Ray hit a majestic drive into Section 127 for his first homer of the season while extending his hitting streak to eight games.
Up a run heading to the bottom of the eighth, the Miracle added an insurance run with two outs off Mets reliever T.J. Chism. Aderling Mejia coaxed a walk and then stole second. With runner on the move to third, Polanco hit a low roller up the middle and into center. Mejia scored and the Miracle lead 8-6.
Brandon Peterson emerged from the bullpen and recorded a perfect ninth with a strikeout to preserve the win. The save is Peterson's first of the season.
Alex Wimmers picked up the win for the Miracle with four strong innings of relief. After Hermsen allowed six runs, five earned, on nine hits, Wimmers (3-3) gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out five.
The Miracle (46-30, 5-2) host the Mets (44-32, 4-3) in the second of a three-game series Thursday night.