JUPITER -The Fort Myers Miracle churned out nine runs on 15 hits and Aaron Slegers delivered a quality start in a 9-1 victory over the Palm Beach Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
Dalton Hicks broke a scoreless tie in the third inning. With one out, Byron Buxton lined a single to left and stole second base. After Niko Goodrum struck out, Cardinals starter Jimmy Reed issued a walk to Travis Harrison. Hicks then lofted a 2-2 pitch to left-center for a two-run double to put the Miracle up 2-0.
In the fourth, the Miracle sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs. Mejia started the inning with a single to center and moved to third on a double by Max Kepler into center field. Tyler Grimes then hit a high fly ball to shallow right. Cardinals second baseman Mason Katz and first baseman Luke Voit battled the sun, but watched the ball drop down on the grass. Mejia scored. Jairo Rodriguez then floated a single into center field to score Kepler.
Reed (4-1) left after the RBI single by Rodriguez, but would be charged for two more runs. Iden Nazario entered from the Palm Beach bullpen and tossed a wild pitch with Buxton at the plate that brought in Grimes from third. Nazario then walked Buxton and Goodrum dropped a single to center to load the bases. Harrison then lifted a first pitch to center deep enough to score Rodriguez and push the Miracle advantage to 6-0.
Slegers (2-0), in his second start for the Miracle, went six innings and his only run allowed came in his final frame on a sacrifice fly from Aledmys Diaz. Slegers yielded just three hits and struck out four with one walk.
Nazario issued a pair of walks to start the seventh to Goodrum and Harrison. Hicks then sliced an 0-1 pitch into left to drive in Goodrum. Nazario left the game and the Cardinals went to Logan Billbrough from the pen. Billbrough struck out Adam Brett Walker and got Mejia to hit into a force play. With two down, Kepler ripped a double up the middle for a RBI and an 8-1 Miracle lead.
Fort Myers' final blow was dealt in the ninth against Cardinals reliever Corey Baker. Hicks picked up his third hit of the day with a lead-off double into left-center. Walker followed with a one-hop smash past third base and into left to score Hicks, 9-1.
Hicks finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored. Kepler was 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and scored a run.
The Miracle bullpen combined for a scoreless final three innings. Brian Gilbert pitched the seventh, Madison Boer the eighth and Alex Muren posted a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Miracle (70-47, 29-19) go for the series sweep Monday night at 6:35 p.m.