JUPITER, FL- In a game that featured a rain delay, four ejections and five homeruns, Palm Beach defeated the first place Fort Myers Miracle 6-5, on a Jonathan Rodriguez walk-off home run in the tenth inning.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Fort Myers top prospect Miguel Sano stepped up to the plate to face Palm Beach reliever Brandon Creath. The first pitch Creath threw got away from him, sending a fastball behind Sano, resulting in warnings that were issued to both dugouts by home plate umpire Fernando Rodriguez. The next pitch Sano saw, he sent tape measure bomb over the left field wall at Roger Dean Stadium for his sixth homer of the season. Sano proceeded to trot down the first base line pointing at and taunting the Palm Beach dugout. Accordingly, Fernando Rodriguez then ejected the top prospect mid-trot (homerun counted) followed by ejections of Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz and shortstop Stephen Wickens for arguing the decision.
After the debacle in the fifth, Fort Myers managed to tie the game up at five a piece in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Kennys Vargas (1-4, 2B, BB) and Lance Ray (3-5, 2B, RBI).
Palm Beach manager Johnny Rodriguez was added to the list of ejections in the 9th, after arguing balls and strikes.
The game remained tied until the tenth.
Palm Beach LF Jonathan Rodriguez (3-5, 2B, HR, RBI) led off the bottom of the tenth inning, facing Fort Myers LHP Nelvin Fuentes. To the excitement of the Cardinals dugout, Rodriguez smashed his first home run of the season over the left-center wall propelling the Cards to their tenth win of the season.
"I had faced him before in Puerto Rico during winter ball, I knew he had good secondary stuff" said Rodriguez. "I wanted to get ahead of his fastball so I took advantage of the first one I saw."
Rodriguez's first 3-hit performance could not have come at a better time for the Cards, "Just seeing the ball deep in the plate today helped, I was relaxed and wasn't jumpy in my approach."
RHP Scott Gorgen was scheduled to make his first start of the 2013 season today, only to be scratched from the lineup after a 2 hour rain delay. RHP Heath Wyatt (2-1) got the win for the Cards, extinguishing the Fort Myers scoring threat in the top of the tenth inning.
Matt Williams (3-4, 2B, 2R, BB), Colin Walsh (3-5, HR, 3RBI) and Jonathan Rodriguez all had 3-hit performances on the day. Anthony Garcia hit his team leading fourth home run of the season in the third inning off of Miracle starter Jason Wheeler.
The Cardinals and Miracle will play the second game of their three game series tomorrow, 6:35 p.m. at Roger Dean Stadium.