Clearwater, Fla. - Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, the Tampa Yankees (26-33) look to finish the 2013 season strong. The T-Yanks started the final week of play with an 8-5 win over the Clearwater Threshers (30-30) on Monday night at Bright House Field.
Tampa opened the scoring in the top of the first against Clearwater starter Luis Paulino. A walk by Cito Culver and singles by Taylor Dugas and Robert Refsnyder loaded the bases with no outs. Peter O'Brien then grounded into a fielder's choice as shortstop Jonathan Roof stepped on second to force out Refsnyder. An errant throw to first by Roof allowed O'Brien to reach second as both Culver and Dugas scored on the play.
The Threshers quickly gained the lead with a three-run bottom of the first off of Yankees' starter Jairo Heredia. Jiwan James walked and scored on an RBI triple by Peter Lavin. One out later, Chris Serritella hit a two-run homerun over the right field wall, giving Clearwater a 3-2 lead.
The Yankees regained the lead in the third. Dugas reached on a leadoff walk and scored on a double by Refsnyder. After Refsnyder stole third, he scored on a sacrifice fly by O'Brien, giving Tampa a 4-3 advantage.
Carlos Alonso worked a leadoff walk in the fourth and advanced to third on a single by Brock Stassi. Clearwater then tied the score after an RBI sacrifice fly by Jonathan Roof, 4-4.
Culver led off the fifth inning with a single and moved to second after Dugas reached on a hit-by-pitch. Refsnyder then doubled, scoring Dugas and giving Tampa the lead, 5-4.
Paulino allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out two in the no-decision.
Clearwater tied the score again in the fifth. James singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A single by Lavin scored James, tying the game at 5-5.
Heredia received a no-decision after allowing five runs on six hits and four walks while striking out three in five innings.
Tampa broke the tie for good in the top of the ninth. Facing reliever Ken Giles (2-2), Dugas reached on an infield single. Giles then walked Refsnyder and O'Brien, loading the bases. Dan Fiorito grounded into a fielder's choice, retiring Dugas at home. Jose Toussen then delivered the go-ahead RBI with a sacrifice fly to left field. A two-RBI double by Saxon Butler gave the Yankees insurance by driving in O'Brien and Fiorito.
Yankees' reliever Alex Smith (1-2) worked a perfect eighth and locked down the 8-5 win after pitching a scoreless ninth. The right-hander tallied two walks and two strikeouts.
RHP Zachary Varce scatterd two hits in two scoreless innings of relief while walking one and striking out three in his Tampa Yankees debut.
Refsnyder went 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Up next, the Yankees continue the four-game series with a 7:00 p.m. start in Clearwater. RHP Joel De La Cruz will start for Tampa. RHP Severino Gonzalez will counter for the Threshers. The T-Yanks return to Tampa on Wednesday to host Clearwater for a double-header beginning at 5:00 p.m. at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Fans can enjoy Kids Night where kids 14 and under receive a free hot dog, soda and ice cream with the purchase of a reserved ticket ($5) at the Steinbrenner Field Box Office.