Special to the Breeze
The Tampa Yankees defeated the Fort Myers Miracle 8-2 in the third of a four-game series at Hammond Stadium Monday night.
Tampa scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a pair of Miracle errors. Sending nine to the plate, the Yankees put the first runner on base against Miracle starter David Hurlbut on a Jorge Polanco miscue. Zach Wilson hit a bouncing ball to the left side and Polanco's throw skipped in the dirt and off the glove of Dalton Hicks. A single by Matt Snyder then put runners on the corners.
On an 0-2 pitch, Jose Toussen singled up the middle to bring in Wilson and give the Yankees at 1-0 lead. Wes Wilson then laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of home plate. Hurlbut (3-3) jumped off the rubber, fielded and threw high over Hicks at first allowing a run to score. Cody Grice then tripled to center to bring in two more runs and Cito Culver added a sacrifice fly to cap off the five-run inning for the Yankees.
The Miracle struggled against Tampa starter Conner Kendrick over six innings. Kendrick (2-2) allowed just three hits and no runs with one walk while striking out five to earn the win.
Fort Myers got on the board in the seventh on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Aderling Mejia. After Hicks was struck with a pitch, Stuart Turner singled through the infield and Max Kepler had a base hit past the right side to load the bases. Mejia lifted a fly ball to right that brought in Hicks to cut the Yankee lead to 5-1.
Tampa put the game out of reach in the ninth with a three-run inning against Miracle reliever Steven Gruver. Wilson, Snyder and Grice each picked up RBI singles to extend the Yankees advantage to 8-1.
Mejia added another RBI on ground out in the ninth, but Alex Smith recorded the final three outs for Tampa without any further damage to secure an 8-2 win.
Hurlbut was the losing pitcher for the Miracle after allowing five runs, two earned, on six hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. Brandon Peterson and Brian Gilbert each pitched a pair of scoreless innings in relief combining for seven punch outs.
The Miracle (33-23) wrap up the series with the Yankees (27-29) Tuesday night.