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Palm Beach drops Game 1 of Florida State League East Division Finals 6-1 to St. Lucie

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St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 6-4

St. Louis Cardinals non-roster pitcher Trent Baker (87) delivers a pitch during the eight inning of an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets on Sunday, March 20, 2022, at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

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.

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.

Daniel Guerrero

@TheDanielGuerrero on Twitter

dguerrerro@post-dispatch.com

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