PORT CHARLOTTE - Matt Tomshaw earned his team-leading 11th win with seven strong innings in a 5-2 series-opening win for the Fort Myers Miracle at the Charlotte Stone Crabs Friday night.
The Stone Crabs took the lead in a one-run, three-hit first inning. A pair of Major League rehabilitation players from the Tampa Rays, David DeJesus and Ryan Hanigan, slapped singles to start the inning. Maxx Tissenbaum then hit a grounder back to Tomshaw (11-5), who tried to start a double play, but only retired Hanigan at second. With runners on the corners, Patrick Leonard singled through the right side to drive in DeJesus and put the Crabs up 1-0.
In the third, the Miracle tagged Charlotte starter Blake Snell for three runs with two outs. Jason Kanzler led off with a single on a tapper down the third base line. Snell then struck out Jairo Rodriguez and Bryan Haar. With Aderling Mejia at the plate, Kanzler stole second. Mejia then deposited a single into shallow right-center to plate Kanzler and tie the game 1-1.
Snell then issued a walk to Niko Goodrum to put runners at first and second. Travis Harrison laced a 3-2 pitch into the left field corner. Mejia scored easily, but Goodrum glided past a near tag by Hanigan at home to put the Miracle up 3-1.
The Miracle added an insurance run in the seventh. Kanzler tripled to left-center off Charlotte reliever Jose Molina to start the frame. After Rodriguez flew out to center, Haar sent a drive to right that was caught by Marty Gantt. Kanzler raced home and Haar was credited with a sacrifice fly to push the Miracle advantage to 4-1.
Charlotte picked up a run off Tomshaw in the seventh on a RBI single to left. Tomshaw finished with two earned runs given up on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
Brandon Peterson entered in the eighth and struck out two in a scoreless frame.
Fort Myers extended the lead to 5-2 in the ninth with Kanzler again igniting the offense. Leading off with a double off Stone Crabs reliever Colton Reavis, Kanzler moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rodriguez. With Haar at the plate, Reavis unleashed a fastball that sailed to the backstop and Kanzler trotted home.
Zack Jones closed the door in the ninth for the Miracle. After allowing a double to Leonard, Jones retired the next three hitters in order with a pair of strikeouts. The save for Jones is his second of the season.
The Miracle (78-52, 37-24) return to Charlotte Saturday for a 6 p.m. first pitch with the Stone Crabs (60-64, 29-28).