Jupiter, FL - Bruce Caldwell had a big night at the plate and the Palm Beach Cardinals used two big innings to earn a convincing 9-2 win over the Clearwater Threshers on Thursday night at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals have won three straight games.
Caldwell went 3-for-4 with three RBI and scored a run to lead the offensive outburst. His three hits were a season-high.
Caldwell had a big impact on the Cardinals' four-run second inning and five-run fifth inning as Palm Beach jumped out to a 9-0 lead after five. The designated hitter got the scoring started with a two-out RBI single to the gap in left-center field in the second. Alex Mejia, who walked earlier in the frame, scored on the base hit and Jesus Montero took advantage of an error on the play to score and put Palm Beach on top 2-0.
Jimmy Bosco doubled in Caldwell and touched home himself on an Ildemaro Vargas single through the right side to make it 4-0.
The Cardinals (29-31) started to pile on the runs in the fifth inning. Breyvic Valera and Luke Voit hit back-to-back singles to left-center field but didn't have to stay on the base paths for very long. Mejia blistered a bases-clearing double to left in the next at-bat to extend the Palm Beach lead to 6-0.
Mejia's two-RBI double knocked Clearwater starter Miguel Nunez from the game in favor of Jeb Stefan. Stefan didn't have much better luck against the league's second-best hitting club.
The Threshers' right-handed reliever plunked David Washington and Montero to load the bases before Caldwell drove in two more runs on a single smoked into left field. Bosco capped the five-run inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Montero and pad the Birds' lead to 9-0.
Palm Beach starter Silfredo Garcia didn't need a nine-run cushion to earn a win on Thursday night. In his fourth start for the Class-A Advanced club, Garcia was terrific. He scattered five hits over six scoreless innings, walked two and fanned five. Garcia (3-1) is 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA (2ER/18.1IP) over his last three games.
The Threshers (12-47) got on the board with two runs in the seventh inning when Kyle Barraclough came in to relieve Garcia. Barraclough allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk in the inning.
Dixon Llorens and Danny Miranda Jr. each tossed a strong inning out of the bullpen to close the door on Clearwater. In his first outing in over a month (disabled list), Llorens showed no signs of rust, striking out two in a scoreless eighth. Miranda finished with a pair of strikeouts in a perfect ninth to preserve the win.
The two clubs will play the third game of the four-game series on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. RH Michael Mayers (2-6, 4.22) will start for Palm Beach against LH Ethan Stewart (2-6, 4.91) for Clearwater. The game will be broadcast live on PalmBeachCardinals.com.