Dunedin 9 at Fort Myers 2
W: A. Wideman (5-5, 5.40); L: C. Gutierrez (2-1, 3.24); SV: C. Blackwell (1)
HR: DUN: C. Patton (12).
Carlos Gutierrez, Anthony Slama and Blair Erikson gave up a combined 7 run on 8 hits and 4 walks in 3 innings Tuesday night, leaving Jeff Smith no recourse but to turn to ace closer Danny Santiesteban to get the final out.
The Miracle got on the board early. Danny Berg knocked a line drive to center before Steve Singleton was plunked by a pitch. Edward Ovalle's line drive loaded the bags. Wilson Ramos ground into a force out that took scored Berg and Singleton, but took Ovalle out at 2nd. A throwing error advanced Ramos to 2nd. Juan Portes singled out to center. Ramos would try to come home but was taken out at home on the throw. Eli Tintor would ground out to end the inning.
After that the Miracle could not seems to solve A.J. Wideman, who allowed a total of 4 hits and a walk, all of which came in the first inning except a single to Portes in the 4th and walk to the same in the 7th. He'd fan only 1, but worked 7 solid innings for the Blue Jays.
The Miracle got 5.2 innings out of Matt Fox who gave up a pair of runs in the top of the 4th. Brad Emaus would single, then one out later Cory Patton put his 12th over the right field fence to tied up the contest.
Gutierrez would replace Fox in the sixth after the Orlando resident allowed a double to Marcos Cabral. It was the 7th inning that got the Miracle's rookie in trouble.
The former Miami Hurricane would walk Matt Liuzza. Jonathan Diaz sac bunt advanced the runner to 2nd, and he went to 3rd on Luis Sanchez's line drive single. Chris Emanuele went down on strikes before Emaus single to plate Liuzza. David Cooper then singled to scored Sanchez. A wild pitch advanced the runners, but Gutierrez was able to get Patton to fly out to retire the Jays.
Slama would come in for the top of the 8th and hit Cabral with a pitch. Anthony Hatch was taken out on strikes before Liuzza's single moved Cabral to 2nd. Diaz would go down swinging before Sanchez singled in Cabral. Emanuele struck out to send the Miracle to batt.
Chad Blackwell would take over for Wideman in the bottom of the 8th. Allowing a ground ball single to Singleton but taking the the other three batters he faced out on strikes. Word that is that the former North Carolina Game Cock has become a hard autograph to get of late, having signed on with certain agent who advises his clients not to sign autographs. The same agent has been on the Minor League Autograph forum causing trouble. Gotta love the professionalism there.
Erickson would get Emaus and Cooper to flyout to left before allowing a triple to Patton. He'd come home on Cabral's single. Erickson then walked Hatch and Liuzza filling up the bases. Diaz singled to drive in two, but Erikson then walked Sanchez. I just read something, a comment on LEN3's blog I think, about needing guys like Erickson up in the bigs. Please, by all means, take him. After tonight's performance he can start his own dog walking business when the pitching thing doesn't work out for him.
So Smitty turned to Santieseban again and the Hialeah native got Emaus to ground out to let the Miracle have a turn at the plate.
That allowed Blackwell to strike out Ramos, pop out Portes and catch Tintor holding the bat on this shoulder to finish off the contest.
Gutierrez took the loss, his second of the season.
The Blue Jays will look to do what they hope to do to the Miracle in the playoffs, sweep them, on Wednesday night. They will have to get through Cole Devries (9-8, 2.85) to do it however. Meanwhile, Randy Boone (3-3, 5.56) will be on the mound for the Jays and, if the last two game are any indication, he will not be tested hard by the Miracle batters.
I uploaded the video from the ninth inning from Monday's game but it seems to have gotten lost somewhere in cyberspace. I guess I can try again. (Sorry Eddie, it's not my fault!)
With the loss the Miracle are in fifth place in the six team West Division, 12.5 games behind the Blue Jays with 19 games left to play. Note to MILB: I don't think we're in still in the running any more.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Miracle won four of six games and are still in the running for the second-half title in the West. With three weeks left in the season, Fort Myers is tied with Tampa in third place, 9 1/2 games behind Dunedin.
WHO'S HOT, WHO'S NOT: CF Brandon Roberts has proven to be a tough out. The California native has eight hits in his last 19 at-bats for a .421 average. ... SP Cole Devries has been a strikeout machine. The University of Minnesota product has 10 strikeouts in his last 11 innings pitched while racking up two wins.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RP Blair Erickson has been money. The Sacramento, Calif., native has eight strikeouts in his last 4 1/3 innings pitched through four games.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Sarasota had a hard time keeping 3B Daniel Berg off the basepaths in Fort Myers' 11-4 win on Aug. 8. The native of Australia had two hits, walked twice and scored three runs.