The man who would be Mets closer – Frank Francisco‘s return from off-season elbow surgery has been a long winding road that presently has him stationed in Port St. Lucie. Making only his third appearance of 2013, and his first since April 20th, Francisco pitched one scoreless inning to help the Port St. Lucie Mets complete a Cinco de Mayo, 1-0 white-washing of the Daytona Cubs. Francisco pitched the seventh inning in relief of starting pitcher Domingo Tapia, in which he retired the side in order, and struck out two batters.
Tapia pitched six scoreless innings, while surrendering only two hits. He walked three batters, and struck out four before departing the game en-route to a no decision. A marvelous, albeit combined pitching effort by both teams kept the game scoreless through the first eight frames. In the bottom of the ninth inning, St. Lucie gladly accepted a few assists to finally break through for the game winning run. Three consecutive walks issued by Daytona reliever Luis Liria loaded the bases for pinch hitter Matthew Reynolds, who promptly singled past the shortstop, delivering the winning run of a 1-0 game.
Domingo Tapia, 21, is on the Mets top prospects radar. In seven starts this season and 32.1 innings pitched, he’s limited batters to twenty hits while striking out twenty-eight, but has issued a somewhat lofty thirteen bases on balls. With Sunday’s no decision, his record remains at 2-3. He currently sports a 2.73 ERA, so far his best mark in four years as a pro. In a full season with Savannah last year, Tapia posted a 3.98 ERA in nineteen starts spanning 108 innings.
With an 18-11 record, the St. Lucie Mets are second in the Florida State South Division, five games behind the leading (23-6) Fort Myers Miracle. Tonight, Hansel Robles takes the mound in game two of a four game series, versus Zach Cates and the visiting Daytona Cubs.