By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — St. Lucie Mets pitcher Andrew Barbosa brought his “A” game on Monday.
The left-hander kept the Charlotte Stone Crabs hitless in his seven-inning outing. Despite having a no-hitter in tact, Mets manager Luis Rojas elected to send a reliever to the mound to begin the eighth inning.
Alex Palsha kept the no-no going after facing one batter, but lost it when Mac James had a hard-hit single to right field. Palsha recorded the save in a 3-0 win for St. Lucie.
“I know that everyone quantifies how well teams do in terms of hits,” manager Michael Johns said. “Obviously we didn’t swing the bat well, but I didn’t think we had very many quality at-bats either.”
It was technically the Stone Crabs’ first hit in 10 and two-thirds of an inning on Monday, as three innings of a suspended game was completed prior to this one. The loss officially eliminated Charlotte from playoff contention.
The only batter to reach base against Barbosa was Thomas Milone, who walked in the third inning. Barbosa also had 11 strikeouts in the win.
“That guy was really good,” Johns said. “He really knows how to pitch. He didn’t throw one ball in the same spot. He was mixing and matching, and kept us guessing all night.”
St. Lucie did all of its damage in one inning, as a pair of errors in the fifth led to three runs scored for the Mets.
The frame began when a ground ball from David Thompson went through the legs of third baseman Cristian Toribio. Thompson later came around to score, as did John Mora and Jonathan Johnson when there were two outs, and shortstop Andrew Velazquez made a low throw to first base, which trickled away from James.
In that inning, starting pitcher Mike Franco left the game with an apparent injury. He was relieved by Jose Alvarado. The three runs they surrendered were all unearned.