An eighth inning solo homer from Jimmy Crooks III on Tuesday created the only run for Class Low-A Palm Beach in its 6-1 loss to St. Lucie in Game 1 of the Florida State League East Division Finals.
Crooks, a 2022 fourth-round pick by the Cardinals, went one-for-five in the loss. He and 19-year-old outfield prospect Joshua Baez’s two-for-three game combined for three of Palm Beach’s four hits against St. Lucie.
Palm Beach starter Trent Baker, who matched up against St Lucie starter and 2022 Mets second-round pick Blade Tidwell, gave the PB-Cards 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs. Baker began the ballgame by keeping St. Lucie scoreless through 4 2/3 innings, but surrendered three consecutive RBIs after allowing a triple, single, and a double in that order during the fifth inning.
Baker, a 2021 ninth-round pick by the Cardinals, was lifted in favor of Gustavo Rodriguez, who gave up three runs in an innings of work.
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With the loss, Palm Beach must win back-to-back games on the road against St. Lucie to advance to the Florida State League Championship Series. Game 2 will be played at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Thursday at 5:10 p.m. St. Louis time. A potential Game 3 is slated for Friday at Clover Park at 5:10 p.m. St. Louis time.
The winner of the series will face the winner of the Florida State League West Division Finals between Fort Myers and Dunedin in a best-of-three championship series beginning on Sept. 18.
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