Lakeland 5 at Fort Myers 6
W: C. Gutierrez (3-1, 2.89); L: R. Garcia (4-3, 4.63); SV: A. Slama (24)
HR: LAK: M. Bertram 2 (6). FTM: W. Ramos (13), D. Santiesteban (6).
Danny Santiesteban's home run in the bottom of the sixth put the Fort Myers Miracle on top, and Anthony Slama came in to shut the door, giving the Miracle a 6-5 win over the Lakeland Flying Tigers.
Justin Justice and Luis Ott hit singles to open up the contest and Michael Bertram put a ball over the right field fence to spot the Flying Tigers a 3 run lead. "Wait. I want to start this over," said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony, who was late getting ot his seat. I'm sure Alex Burnett wanted to start over as well. He walked Cale Iorg who then stole 2nd, but then got Jordon Lennerton out on strikes. Jeramy Laster flew out and Devon Thomas popped out to send the Miracle up to bat.
The home town team would not get something going until the bottom of the 2nd when Johnny Woodard was hit by a pitch. He'd move to second on Danny Berg's ground out, then came home on a Santiesteban single.
The Twins may be interested in putting Santiesteban on the mound full time, but Mr. Santiesteban does not yet appear ready to relinquish the lumber.
Bertram put his 2nd home run of the night over the wall in the top of the third inning, to make it 4-1 Tigers.
Danny Lehmann drew a walk off Duane Below in the bottom of the third and Yancarlos Ortiz singled his way onto base. After Garrett Olson popped out, Edward Ovalle singled out to left to fill up the bags. Wilson Ramos then launched his team leading 13th home run of the season over the right field fall for a grand slam putting the Miracle on top.
The bottom of the fourth would see Lehmann and Ortiz hit back-to-back singles. Below then walked Garrett Olson which sent Tigers' field manager Andy Barkett walked out to the mound to retrieve the ball from Below. He'd pass it off to Ramon Garcia who got Ovalle to pop out and Ramos to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Sarmelo Jaime singled in the top of the 5th and moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. Justice singled him ot 3rd and after a line out to Ott and a fly out to Bertram, Burnett would hit Iorg with a pitch to load the bases. Lennerton singled to drive in Jaime, but Burnett got Jeramy Laster to ground into a force out to retire the Tigers before more damage could be done.
Carlos Gutierrez replaced Burnett for the top of the sixth, getting three quick outs after allowing a lead off single to Thomas.
Danny Santiesteban then put his sixth of the year over the left field fence to put the Miracle back on top.
Despite a single to Justice in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers did not seriously threaten through the remainder of the contest. Gutierrez got his 3rd win of the season, while Slama earned his 24th save.
Berg, Santiesteban and "Air" Ortiz were all 2-for-4, Santiesteban and Ortiz with runs, Santiesteban with a pair of RBIs. Ramos and Lehmann were both 1-for-3 with a run, Ramos with 4 RBIs, Lehamann with a walk. Ovalle was 1-for-4 with a run.
The two teams rematch tomorrow with Deolis Guerra (10-7, 4.93) on the mound for Fort Myers vs. Lakeland's Jonah Nickerson (10-3, 3.86). It is Golf Giveaway Night at the stadium. It is also Miraclefans.com annual Cheer for Tigers night. We realize the Lakeland Tigers don't have any fans, and like to give them a hurray once a year when they come into town so they will feel welcome.
Let's go Miracle Blog
It was Ramos' fifth grand slam of the season, setting a new franchise record for the team. Ramos also ties Juan Portes for the most grand slams hit all time.
Twins prospect and former 1st rounder Henry Sanchez has reportedly left the Gulf Coast League. Twins Director of Minor Leagues Jim Rantz says that Sanchez will be taking the rest of the summer off "to regroup".
Lakeland's Jordan Tata was injured during Wednesday night's game and will reportedly retire rather then try to rehab again. Tata started the season on the injured reserve and has had a tough time coming back.