The Clearwater Threshers scored three runs in the third and another in fourth as they defeated the Dunedin Blue Jays 4-2 on Thursday night at Bright House Field to keep themselves very much alive in a crowded playoff race.
The three run third featured four singles off D-Jays starter Jesse Hernandez. The biggest blow came on a two out two-run single from Clearwater first baseman Jim Murphy. The RBIs were Murphy's 83rd and 84th of the season and they gave the Threshers a lead they would never relinquish.
Dunedin answered the Threshers big third inning with a run in the top of the fourth on an Amadeo Zazueta sacrifice fly, but they squandered an opportunity to get all the way back in it. Pierce Rankin grounded out to short with two outs and the bases loaded, and that was as close as the D-Jays would get.
Elsewhere in the Florida State League North, the playoff race continued to heat up.
The Tampa Yankees rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the 9th to defeat the Lakeland Flying Tigers 5-4, and so we head into the final weekend of the season with three teams tied for second place - one game behind the first place Blue Jays. The Brevard County Manatees also won on Thursday night, 6-5 in Daytona, and the Manatees are just a game and a half back heading into their final three contests.
The D-Jays and Threshers will meet in Dunedin on Friday night where Tucker Jensen will make his first appearance at the Advanced A level for the Blue Jays. Jensen will be opposed by FSL pitcher of the year Austin Wright, and the first pitch is scheduled for 6:30.