Long Island native Steven Matz turned in his shortest outing in nearly two years, but Mets Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning en route to an 11-6 win over Reno on Thursday.
Matz, the Mets' top pitching prospect who was born in Stony Brook and attended Ward Melville High School, lasted just four innings, allowing five hits, three walks and four runs. He struck out six.
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It was his shortest start since Aug. 18, 2013.
Matz struck out a hitter and allowed a walk in the first, struck out a hitter and permitted a single in the second and struck out the side in the fourth inning.
But a four-run third inning was Matz' undoing.
After Parker Frazier struck out to start the third inning, the next seven batters presented this sequence: Garret Weber homered, Danny Worth walked, Peter O'Brien doubled, Nick Evans reached on an RBI fielder's choice, Jamie Romak walked, Todd Glaesmann singled and Cody Ransom singled. By the time Matz got Matt Pagnozzi to fly out and end the inning, Reno led 4-1.
Matz threw 83 pitches (50 strikes), his third lowest total of the season. The four earned runs matched his season high.
Las Vegas centerfielder Alex Castellanos doubled and scored on third baseman T.J. Rivera's single to cut the lead to 4-2 in the fourth, and the 51s tied the score in the fifth on three straight singles from shortstop Matt Reynolds, catcher Johnny Monell and first baseman Brooks Conrad and a sacrifice fly by rightfielder Travis Taijeron. Second baseman Wilfredo Tovar's RBI single in the sixth scored Rivera with the go-ahead run, but righthander Chase Bradford allowed a pair of runs in the top of the eighth to put Las Vegas in a one-run hole again.
Patience proved the 51s' most effective weapon during a six-run bottom of the eighth. Rivera (3-for-5), Reynolds (2-for-6) and Tovar (2-for-3, 3 walks) had the only hits in the inning - all singles - but five walks and a wild pitch backed the rally for Las Vegas (32-29, 1st place in Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern).
Elsewhere in the minor leagues
(29-30, 4th place in Eastern League Eastern, 6 games back)
Righthanders Luis Cessa, Beck Wheeler and Paul Sewald combined for a five-hit shutout as the Mets beat Bowie, 6-0. Cessa struck out two in six innings, walked one and gave up three hits. Wheeler struck out two and allowed a hit in two innings, and Sewald allowed a hit in one inning. Shortstop Josh Rodriguez and first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez each homered, designated hitter Brock Peterson was 2-for-4 with a double and leftfielder Michael Conforto went 1-for-3 with a walk.
SINGLE-A ADVANCED ST. LUCIE
(30-30, T-3rd place in Florida State League South, 10 games back)
Closer Akeel Morris blew his first save of the season in the seventh inning, and Robert Coles gave up the winning run without retiring a batter in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss to Daytona during Game 1 of a doubleheader. Regulation games last only seven innings during minor-league doubleheaders. Righthander John Gant struck out 11 in 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, one walk and four runs (three earned). First baseman Dominic Smith was 2-for-4.
In Game 2, second baseman Yeixon Ruiz was 3-for-4 with a double in a 3-2 loss. Righthander Miller Diaz struck out seven in a six-inning complete game, allowing five hits, one walk and three runs.
(33-27, T-1st place in South Atlantic League Southern)
First baseman Jon Leroux's two-run homer tied the score with one out in the ninth, and leftfielder Vicente Lupo's sacrifice fly later in the inning drove in the go-ahead run during the Sand Gnats' 4-3 win over West Virginia. Rightfielder John Mora was 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE METS 1
(5-6, T-6th place in DSL Boca Chica South, 2.5 games back)
Centerfielder Anthony Dirocie and shortstop Oliver Pascual walked, but that was all the offense the Mets could muster as the DSL Dodgers pitched a combined no-hitter and won, 7-0.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE METS 2
(7-4, T-4th place in DSL Boca Chica North, 1 game back)
Leftfielder Grabiel Jimenez was 1-for-4 with a double and drove in the Mets' only run during a 6-1 loss to the DSL Rangers 2.