The Fort Myers Miracle dismantled the Clearwater Threshers 14-0 Monday in the series opener at Hammond Stadium.
The Miracle used two big offensive half innings and 17 hits to post a season-high 14 runs. In the fourth, Fort Myers sent 11 to the plate and scored eight runs. Mike Gonzales started the onslaught with a long solo home run to right-center field on a 2-1 pitch from Threshers starter Jeb Stefan. Gonzales has now homered in three consecutive games and has a team-best 19-game hitting streak.
Fort Myers went back-to-back when Dalton Hicks hit a solo blast over the wall in right. For Hicks, the homer is his fifth in the last 13 games and No. 10 on the season. Travis Harrison then doubled down the third base line. Stuart Turner and Niko Goodrum both singled to load the bases. After Stefan (6-10) struck out Aderling Mejia, Jason Kanzler knocked in a pair of runs to put the Miracle up 4-0. In his Florida State League debut, Kanzler bounced a ground ball through the left side hole for his first two RBI with the Miracle.
Stefan exited the game in favor of Threshers reliever Lino Martinez. Issuing a walk to Byron Buxton to reload the bases, Martinez struggled to find the strike zone against Levi Michael. A five-pitch walk to Michael pushed across another run. Gonzales, in his second at-bat of the inning, then singled up the middle to drive in two more runs and give the Miracle an 8-0 lead.
Fort Myers added six more in the sixth inning again sending 11 hitters to the plate. Kanzler led off with a home run on the first pitch of the inning from Martinez. Kanzler's high, majestic drive cleared the fence in deep left-center. Then, Buxton and Michael each reached on back-to-back singles. Gonzales ripped a double to right field to score another two runs and push his game RBI total to five. After Hicks grounded out to second, Harrison knocked in a run with a base hit through the left side.
Martinez was replaced by reliever Kevin Walter. Turner greeted Walter with a double down the third base line to score a run. After a single by Goodrum, Mejia added a RBI single through the left side to put the Miracle advantage at 14-0.
Despite a 14-run barrage by the Miracle, the pitching staff needed just one, completing the 11th shutout of the season for the Miracle staff. Brett Lee was masterful through seven scoreless innings. Allowing just three hits with one walk and one strikeout, Lee (8-2) recorded 17-of-21 outs on the ground.
Brandon Peterson pitched the final two innings perfectly to close out the win. The 14-run margin of victory is the largest this season by the Miracle.
All nine batters in the order recorded a hit for Miracle and six had multiple base hits. Gonzales was 3-for-5 with a double, homer and five RBI. Turner was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. Kanzler finished his debut 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and three driven in.
The Miracle (65-40, 24-12) host the Threshers (32-73, 15-22) Tuesday at Hammond Stadium.