PORT CHARLOTTE m- Jorge Polanco gave the Fort Myers Miracle a one-run lead on a ninth inning single to help defeat the Charlotte Stone Crabs 4-3 Sunday evening.
Max Kepler led off the ninth inning with a ground ball single up the middle off Stone Crabs reliever Jose Molina. Niko Goodrum sacrificed Kepler to second base with a bunt. Polanco then dropped a fly ball in front of Charlotte right fielder Marty Gantt and Kepler raced home to give the Miracle a 4-3 lead.
Tyler Jones recorded the final three outs in a scoreless ninth to preserve the victory. The save for Jones was his ninth of the season.
In a back-and-forth game, the Miracle scored a pair of runs in the second inning beginning the frame with three consecutive singles. Mike Gonzales led off with a lofted single into left field. Stuart Turner sent a ground ball through the right side to put runners at first and third. Dalton Hicks then roped a base hit into left center to bring home Gonzales.
Charlotte starter Leonel Santiago then got Kepler to line out to second and fanned Niko Goodrum. Then, with Polanco at the plate, Santiago delivered a wild pitch that allowed Turner to score, 2-0.
The Stone Crabs cut the Fort Myers lead in half with a run in the bottom half of the second. Tyler Goeddel registered a one-out base hit off Miracle starter Matt Tomshaw. Maxx Tissenbaum then doubled to left to put Stone Crabs at second and third. With Marty Gantt at the plate, a Tomshaw pitch missed the target and bounced behind Turner allowing Goeddel to score.
Tissenbaum tied the game for the Crabs in the fourth with a solo homer off Tomshaw, 2-2.
Turner led off the seventh inning with a low laser off Charlotte reliever Bruedlin Suero that just cleared the wall in the left field corner. The home run, Turner's third in his last seven games and fifth of the season, gave the Miracle a 3-2 lead.
Eight of nine in the Fort Myers' lineup recorded hits including a 2-for-5 night from Polanco and 2-for-4 evening from Turner. Lance Ray also had multiple hits going 2-for-5 and registering a double in his sixth consecutive game.
Charlotte pulled even at 3-3 with a two-out rally of Miracle reliever Mason Melotakis. Kes Carter jump-started the Crabs in the eighth with a double into right field. Ariel Soriano singled into center to bring in Carter.
Melotakis (3-1) picked up the win despite allowing a run in one inning of work. Molina (3-4) was the losing pitcher for Charlotte.
Each starter received a no decision. Tomshaw went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Santiago lasted six innings and gave up a pair of runs on six hits with four punch outs.
The Miracle (43-30, 2-2) return to Charlotte Sports Park Monday evening to face the Stone Crabs (31-40, 0-4).