FORT MYERS - Four Miracle pitchers combined to toss a six-hit shutout in a 4-0 win for Fort Myers over the Bradenton Marauders at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday night.
Replacing the scheduled starter Brett Lee, left-hander Steven Gruver hurled four scoreless frames while scattering three hits. Gruver issued two walks and struck out two in a no decision.
The Miracle offense staked Gruver to an early lead with a pair of home runs. In the first inning, Byron Buxton broke a string of seven consecutive hitless at-bats with a two-run homer. After a one-out double from Jorge Polanco, Buxton unloaded on the first pitch from Marauders starter Chad Kuhl and sent a missile over the fence in left. The homer was Buxton's first of the season.
In the second, the Miracle doubled the advantage with another two-run homer. Niko Goodrum singled with one out and stole second base. Kuhl (3-3) delivered an 0-2 pitch to Max Kepler that was belted into deep right and landed to the top of the new drink rail seating. Kepler trotted around the bases after a two-run shot gave the Miracle a 4-0 lead. The homer was Kepler's second of the year and pushed him into a three-way tie for the team lead in RBI with 18.
After Gruver's four shutout frames, Miracle reliever Tim Shibuya entered the game in the fifth. Shibuya (3-2) allowed just one hit and one walk in three innings with three strikeouts to earn the win.
Brandon Peterson made his Miracle debut in the eighth inning. Working around a double and a walk, Peterson struck out the side. Tyler Jones tossed a scoreless ninth inning to complete the shutout.
Kuhl went six innings in a losing effort for the Mrauders and gave up four runs on six hits.
Goodrum and Levi Michael each recorded multi-hit games for the Miracle.
The Miracle (18-14) open a four-game split series with the Jupiter Hammerheads (13-19) at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. Fans can listen to the action on www.miraclebaseball.com with the 'Voice of the Miracle' Brice Zimmerman. The Head Quarters pregame show begins at 6:10 p.m.