Friday, May 16, 2008

Miracle fall in extra innings

Tampa Yankees

Tampa 3 at Fort Myers 2

W: J. Selenes (1-1, 2.84); L: D. Hernandez (0-1, 10.80); SV: P. Bartleski (1)
HR: TAM: S. Fortenberry (2).

For the second straight day, the game between the Fort Myers Miracle and the Tampa Yankees would go into extra innings. But this time, the rally monkeys failed and the Miracle could not pull it out.

The announcement that Tampa ace Eric Hacker would be pitching immediately put this contest into the light of a pitcher's duel, and there was some concern as to whether the Miracle's Cole DeVries could handle it. Never fear! Devries was in the zone again and in the end, out-pitched the highly touted Hacker, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walks while striking out 6 over seven innings.

Hacker, making his first start after a week on the DL, allowed one run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1 over 6. Both pitchers were throwing in the high 80s and low 90's with Hacker hitting 91.

Both gave up runs in the fourth inning. Devries would be victimized first, allowing a walk to Damon Sublett. James Cooper then hit a ground rule double that put a pair of runners in scoring position. Mitch Hillgoss would sacrifice in Sublett put the Yankees on the board. Devries then got Andrew Perez to ground out and Seth Fortenberry to strike out to retire the side without further damage.

Oh - yes - and I want to add that Mr. Devries made a beauty catch, leaping to grab a Hillgoss' ball in the first inning to get an out.

Hacker would be victimized more by his fielding staff than by Fort Myers bats. Rene Tosoni would reach on a fielding error by Sublett. Juan Portes then doubled in Tosoni to give the Miracle a run in the bottom of the fourth, and it was a whole new ballgame again.

It would stay scoreless until the bottom of the ninth. Devries had turned the mound over to Matt Fox who got through the 8th inning fine. He is throwing in the low 80 and touches on 90 from time to time, but he no longer posses the fireball that made him a first round pick some years ago. In the ninth, Fortenberry would greet him with a home run over the right field wall to put the Yankees back on top. Fox would walk Kyle Anson, but got Josue Calzado out on strikes. Catcher Rocky Palacious then caught pinch runner Tim Battle trying to steal 2nd. Kevin Smith would ground out to end the inning.

The Miracle rallied back. With Josue Selenes on the mound, Johnny Woodard drew a walk. A wild pitch by Selenes moved Woodard to 2nd. Danny Berg's ground out moved Woodard to 3rd before Whit Robbins doubled the Miracle's designated hitter in to tie up the score.

Danny Hernandez would pitch the 10th. Hernandez is just 10-months off surgery and evidently I'm not the only one who feels that Mr. Hernandez is out of his league with the Miracle as Jeff Manship echoed my sentiments without any prompting from me.

He got through the 10th, allowing walks to Sublett and Cooper, but getting Hillgoss to hit into a double to play to strand the runners. The 11th would prove different, as Fortenberry tripled off of him. Jeff Smith would bring in Frank Mata to close the game, but a pitched bounced off the side of Palacios' glove and went wild, allowing Fortenberry to score.

Berg would walk in the bottom of the 11th with one out, and after a strike out to Robbins, Wilson Ramos - pinch hitting for Palacios - followed him onto the bags. Unfortunately Danny Santiesteban would strike out swinging to end the game, give the Yankees the win.

The Miracle were without Danny Valencia, who reportedly injured his hand in Thursday night's contest. He was not placed on the DL, but is being rested and is day-to-day.

Brian Dinkelman went 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk, while Santiesteban was 2-for-5 but with a pair of strike outs.

"You realize, Mr. Manship, that Mr. Robertson and Mr. Devries have raised the bar quite high for you. I do expect you to live up to it."

Manship, 4-1 with a 4.19 ERA, allowed that he was not pleased with his last outing and will be looking to make a statement Saturday night on the mound. He will be facing Tampa righty Christian Garcia (0-0. 0.00). Garcia is pitching for the first time this season, coming off the Disabled List. In Charleston of the Sally League, he went 2-3, with a 3.46 ERA in seven games last season. The Miami, Florida, native entered the 2007 season ranked as the Yankees' sixth-best prospect by Baseball America. First pitch is due for 7:05 PM.

Note that if you want Eric Hacker's autograph, you will need to get it Saturday night, as rumor has it that he will be promoted to Trenton within the next week.

News Press
Pending Pinstripes

The word at today's extended spring training game was that Danny Valencia had a broken finger. I noted that he was at Friday's game, in uniform and he didn't have anything on his hand. He could sign autographs and as far as I know, he golfed last night. Manny (Jeff Manship) said Friday at the game that all Danny said was that he'd hurt his hand, not how it was hurt.

Rene Tosoni broke his foot during his at bat in the 6th inning yesterday and is likely done for the season. Yangervis Solarte (Solie) was called up from Extended Spring Training. He'll be swapped back out for Eli Tintor when ol' Niphead gets done with his suspension (10 games).

Fort Myers Miracle

The Miracle's current homestand at Hammond Stadium concludes Saturday with Scout Night and the "Great All-Nighter."

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