Fort Myers 15 at Sarasota 2
W: M. Fox (7-6, 3.55); L: R. Gonzalez (5-10, 6.85)
HR: FTM: J. Portes (10), J. Woodard (5).
The Fort Myers Miracle made short work of Rafael Gonzalez, taking 9 runs, 8 earned, from the Sarasota Reds starter in route to a 15-2 drubbing at Ed Smith Stadium.
Steve Singleton led off in the first with a line drive to center with one out on the board. Danny Berg Singled and Johnny Woodard took a walk to load up the bags. After a pop out to Edward Ovalle, Eli Tintor drew walk to force in Singleton. Garrett Olson then doubled to clean off the plates before Danny Lehmann ground out to end the inning.
Matt Fox would blank the Reds through seven innings of work, scattering six hits and a pair of walks while striking out 5. Following a ground out to Jose Castro, Carson Kainer would double off Fox in the bottom of the 1st and move to 3rd on a wild pitch. Juan Francisco drew a walk, but Fox took Todd Frazier and Logan Parker down on strikes to leave the Red's runners stranded.
Danny Santiesteban would strike out to start the top of the 2nd. Juan Portes followed it up with a single shot home run over the left field wall, his 10th of the season. Singleton and Berg hit back-to-back line drives to find their way onto base. Woodard's fly ball to left scored Sing, while Ovalle singled out to right, loading the bases. Tintor sacrificed in Berg, and Olson's line drive brought in Woodard. Lehmann single to plate Ovalle before Santiesteban, batting around the order, flew out to end the inning.
Gonzalez was not invited back out to the mound for the third inning, the Reds sent Logan Ondrusek out instead. Gonzales and Ondrusek and blanked the Miracle on August 3rd at Hammond Stadium, but the table were certainly turned in Sarasota.
Portes drew a walk off the tall Texan, and Singleton doubled. Berg tripled the pair in and came home on Woodard's ground out. Ovalle would ground out as well, and Tintor would go down on strikes, leaving Ondrusek relatively unscathed.
The Miracle rested in the fourth, but Singleton's double in the top of the 5th got them sparked again. Woodard would put his 5th home run of the season over the right field wall to score two. Red's manager Joe Ayrault was very unhappy, as the umpire had called what looked to be a strike with a 2-2 count a ball, and the next pitch was the one Woodard crushed over the fence. He was unhappier when Shawn Barber did not see it his way and ejected him from the game.
Ondrusek would follow his manager off the field, with Steve Otterness replacing him in the mound. The Tampa, Florida, native would get through the sixth and the seventh untouched, although he'd plunk Sing with a pitch in the seventh. Woodard singled off him in the top of the 8th, and Ovalle reached on a force attempt, in which 3rd baseman Jason Louwsma failed to field the ball. A sacrifice by Tintor brought in Woodard. Ovalle would make it to 3rd on Lehmann's double, but would left stranded when Santiesteban struck out.
David Shinskie finally found his way onto the Fort Myers' roster after spending some time rehabbing an injury at the Lee County Sportsplex. He'd replace Fox for the bottom of the 8th, and allow a single to Kainer. Francisco ground into a force out and Frazier doubled him to 3rd. Parker would knock a line drive single to right to plate the pair, ending the Miracle's shut out bid.
Zach Stewart would close out the game for the Reds, while Carlos Gutierrez handled the mop up detail for the Miracle.
Singleton finished up the game 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, and 4 runs; Berg went 3-for-6 a the plate with a triple, 3 runs and 2 RBIs. Woodard was 3-for-4 with 4 runs and 4 RBIs, while Olson and Lehmann finished up 2-for-5 each, Lehmann with a double.
Tintor finished up 0-for-2 with walk, a run and 3 RBIs.
The two teams rematch tomorrow, Tropical Storm Fay permitting for a 7:00 PM game. Joe Testa (1-0, 1.80) will take the start for the Miracle against the Sarasota's Daryl Thompson (0-1, 7.71).
The New Britain Rock Cats downed the Cleveland affiliated Akron Aeros, 8-2 in Eastern League play Sunday afternoon. David Winfree, Dustin Martin and Danny Valencia all knocked balls over the wall for the Rock Cats, who have won their fifth straight. The Rock Cats are in fifth place in the Northern Division, 21.5 games behind the division leading Trenton Thunder (Yankees). Both New Britain and the Toronto affiliated New Hampshire Fisher Cats have been mathematically eliminated from their league's playoffs.
In the International League, the Rochester Red Wings defeated the Syracuse Chiefs 8-5 Saturday night. Former Miracle Luke Hughes put his third AAA home run of the season over the wall in that contest. The two teams play an evening game on Sunday. With the win, Rochester reached .500 on the season. They are in 3rd place in the North division, 14 games behind the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees and virtually eliminated from the playoffs.
The Beloit Snappers fell to the Cedar Rapid Kernals 5-4 on the road. Ramon Santana went yard with his 7th home run of the season for the Snappers. Blake Martin suffered his second loss of the season, pitching .1 inning of relief in the bottom of the 13th inning. Mike McCardell gave up 4 runs, 2 earned on 7 hits and 2 walks in five inning while striking out eight. The Snappers have lost their last three, falling to fifth place in the Western division, six games behind the division leading Burlinton Bees (Kansas City).
Elizabethon, who was idle on Sunday, leads Kingsport by 5 games with 9 left to play in their season. The E-Twins have won their last four, and will likely face the Pulaski Mariners in the Applachian League playoffs.
Former Miracle and Fort Myers resident Tommy Watkins was at Saturday night's Miracle game. A member of the AAA Red Wings, Watkins suffered a separated shoulder that ended his season early. Watkins was hitting .219 for the wings through 76 games before his season came to an end.
With 13 games left to play in the Florida State League regular season, Lakeland (13), Sarasota (14.5) and Clearwater (16) have all been eliminated from the West Division playoffs. Tampa, trailing Dunedin by 11.5 games is the only other candidate left in the West Division as the Miracle have already locked up their playoff berth.