BRADENTON - Stuart Turner went 4-for-4 and drove in four runs in a 7-4 win for the Fort Myers Miracle over the Bradenton Marauders Tuesday night, halting a three-game losing streak.
With five games left in the season, the Miracle (38-27) still hold out hope to sweep division titles in both halves of the Florida State League season. They are deadlocked with the Marauders in second place just one game behind the division leading Palm Beach Cardinals.
With the game tied 4-4 in the eighth inning, a series of dramatic events unfolded for the Miracle. Facing Marauders reliever Ryan Hafner, Jason Kanzler reached base on a one-out infield chopper to third base. Niko Goodrum followed with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. Max Kepler then delivered the decisive hit by skimming a ground ball up the middle to score Kanzler and put the Miracle up 5-4.
After quelling a two-run rally by the Marauders in the seventh that tied the game, Miracle reliever Nick Burdi remained on the mound in the eighth with a one-run lead. Burdi walked the lead-off man, Jose Osuna, and then threw two wild pitches that put the tying run at third base. Jordan Sterenka then lifted a fly ball into center field. Kanzler caught the ball and Osuna broke from third. Kanzler's throw bounced once in the grass, but found Turner's mitt at home plate in time to apply the tag to Osuna's thigh for the second out of the inning. Burdi then struck out Justin Maffei to end the eighth.
Turner delivered the devastating blow in the ninth inning with his fourth hit and third double of the game. Adam Brett Walker started the frame with a single to center and moved to second on a throwing error by Hafner (2-6). Turner then drilled an 0-2 pitch to center to score Walker and add an insurance run. Tyler Grimes then sacrificed Turner to third. Bryan Haar coaxed a walk to put runners at the corners. Kanzler followed with an RBI single to center to put the Miracle up 7-4.
Zack Jones entered in the ninth out of the Fort Myers pen. Jones fanned two in a scoreless ninth to earn his third save. Burdi (1-0) got the win with 1 1/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
The Miracle finish the regular season series with the Marauders (73-61, 38-27) Wednesday in a rubber match.