PORT ST. LUCIE -- Two games and two wins later, the Charlotte Stone Crabs are not likely to forget their Independence Day clash with the St. Lucie Mets at Digital Domain Park.
Sunday may have been one of the oddest suspended games in Florida State League history, but Joe Cruz and the Stone Crabs put the finishing touches on an eventual 7-0 victory over the Mets on Monday morning.
Charlotte then took a 7-3 win over St. Lucie behind Frank De Los Santos in the regularly scheduled game, giving the club a four-game winning streak.
Not only was there a 33-minute rain delay that slowed the start of Sunday's game, but a power outage in the eighth inning forced play to be suspended. Multiple light banks failed, leaving a big Independence Day crowd waiting for the fireworks show to begin.
The persistent power problem forced Mets management to do the only thing they could, and begin the planned fireworks extravaganza with two-outs in the top of the eighth inning.
Despite hopes that turning off the lights would help reset the system and solve the problem, play had to be halted altogether and resumed on Monday morning.
While the lights were brightest, Cruz (6-5) was masterful in the series opener. He tossed seven scoreless frames and allowed just four hits a walk while striking out three batters. Cruz has turned in a 1.98 ERA over his last six starts and notched wins in four of his last five decisions.
Reid Fronk helped provide the run support that Cruz would need, going 2-for-4 with four RBI's in the opening contest. Greg Sexton and Isaias Velasquez also provided run-scoring hits.
Once their 7-0 series opening win was in the books, the Stone Crabs received a great start from De Los Santos in the scheduled middle game of the series.
Charlotte (5-7) scored three runs with two-out in the first inning to give De Los Santos some early run support. Matt Spring drilled a run-scoring single and Sexton roped a two-run double to make build a 3-0 lead.
Spotted that three-run cushion, De Los Santos (7-3) allowed one run in the second and two in the third, but then held the Mets to a just one hit over his last four innings of work. De Los Santos allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings to earn the win, walking three and a fanning six.
With the game still tied 3-3 in the fifth, Sexton singled and stole second before scoring on Mike Sheridan's base-hit to make it a 4-3 game. Charlotte added three insurance runs, including a pair in the ninth inning open up a four-run lead.
Zach Quate came on in the eighth inning, fanning three to earn his 15th save of the season. His two scoreless innings dropped Quate's ERA to 0.42 on the season.
New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran continued his rehab assignment with St. Lucie (7-5) by playing the field in both games. Both Cruz and De Los Santos notched strikeouts of Beltran, who went 1-for-2 with a walk on Sunday and then 2-for-4 with an RBI on Monday.
Seeing his first action for Charlotte, recently promoted outfielder Chris Murrill went 2-for-5 in each game. He scored two runs and stole a base in his second contest.
The series concludes on Tuesday, with the Stone Crabs sending righty Shane Dyer (4-4) to the hill against rehabbing New York lefty Oliver Perez (0-1). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.