Adam Brett Walker delivered an extra inning, walk-off win with a RBI single in the 11th inning to grant the Fort Myers Miracle a 6-5 victory over the Palm Beach Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied 5-5 moving to the bottom of the 11th, Travis Harrison jump-started the offense with a one-out single through the left side off Cardinals reliever Corey Baker. Dalton Hicks then coaxed a walk and Palm Beach brought in reliever Ronnie Shaban to face Walker. On a 2-2 pitch, Walker scalded a ground ball to short that bounced off the hip of Greg Miclat and rolled into center field. At second base, Harrison screened Miclat before taking off, rounding third and scoring the game-winning run.
The fourth walk-off win of the season for the Miracle erased the sour taste of two blown leads in the eighth and ninth innings.
Down 2-1 going into the sixth inning, the Miracle strung together back-to-back doubles off Cardinals starter Corey Littrell to tie the game. With one out, Stuart Turner yanked a double down the left field line. Tyler Grimes then drove in Turner with a two-bagger to left. After Jason Kanzler was retired on a fly out, Aderling Mejia singled up the middle to plate Grimes and give the Miracle a 3-2 lead.
Palm Beach evened the score in the eighth off Miracle reliever Tyler Jones. Aledmys Diaz earned a walk to start the frame. After Luke Voit flew out to left, a Bruce Caldwell fly to right advanced Diaz to second base. Mason Katz then hit a sharp line drive to short with Diaz running on the pitch. Mejia made a diving stab and fired to first, but Katz was ruled safe at first while Diaz crossed home plate.
The Miracle offense regained the advantage in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out, Grimes singled on the infield against Baker (5-2). Kanzler then bounced a 1-1 pitch off the wall in center field to put runners on the corners. For the second time in the game, Mejia drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center to score Grimes. Niko Goodrum followed with a ripped single through the right side and Kanzler crossed home to put Fort Myers up by two.
In the first save opportunity of the season for Miracle reliever D.J. Johnson, the Cardinals mounted a comeback. Jimmy Bosco led off with a single into right field. After Johnson struck out Anthony Garcia, Nick Martini was walked. Johnson got Miclat to pop out to center field, but issued a free pass to Diaz to load the bases. Voit then hit a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center to bring in two runs and tie the game. On the play, Diaz tried to score, but was gunned out on a cut-off throw by Goodrum at home plate.
Todd Van Steensel came out of the Miracle bullpen in the tenth and pitched two scoreless innings. Van Steensel (1-0) walked two and struck out a pair to set the scene for Walker in the bottom of the 11th.
The Miracle (74-52, 33-24) are off Monday and begin a nine-game road trip at the Bradenton Marauders Tuesday.