JUPITER - The Palm Beach Cardinals defeated the Fort Myers Miracle 4-3 Monday night in a rain-shorted game.
Byron Buxton put the Miracle up two runs in the first inning with a two-run homer off Cardinals starter Silfredo Garcia. Levi Michael led off with seeing eye single that bounced through the right side. Buxton then lined up a 1-1 pitch and deposited it over the wall in left for his fourth home run of the season.
Palm Beach answered in the bottom of the first. Nick Martini began the inning with a single into left off Miracle starter Matt Tomshaw. After Greg Miclat flew out to center, Aledmys Diaz ripped a double into the corner in left to score Martini and cut the Miracle lead to one run.
Buxton accounted for another RBI in the second. With the bases loaded on a pair of hits by Max Kepler and Aderling Mejia, Niko Goodrum reached on a walk to load the bases. Michael hit into a force play that retired Kepler at home. Then, Buxton stepped up and was hit on the hip by Garcia to push across another Miracle run.
Diaz tagged a 3-1 pitch from Tomshaw in the third for a solo homer to pull the Cardinals to a one-run deficit 3-2.
Tempers flared in the fifth inning. With two outs, Garcia's first pitch to Travis Harrison sailed behind his back. Home plate umpire Alex McKay tossed Garcia from the game and the benches cleared for both teams, though no physical altercations ensued.
In the bottom of the fifth, Miclat blasted a two-run homer off Tomshaw to give Palm Beach a 4-3 advantage. Martini reached a batter earlier with a one-out single up the middle. Miclat then hit his first homer of the season, a drive that landed beyond the left field fence.
Rain halted play in the seventh inning with no outs and a runner on first. After a 1-hour, 2-minute delay, the grounds were rule unplayable and the game was called.
The Miracle (70-48, 29-20) open an eight-game, six-day homestand at JetBlue Park at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday with a doubleheader against the St. Lucie Mets. The first game resumes with the Miracle leading 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning with one out. A second seven-inning game follows.