CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Harold Martinez launched his third home run in his past four games, but the Clearwater Threshers suffered an 8-2 loss to the Palm Beach Cardinals on Saturday night.
The Threshers' third baseman finished the evening 2-for-4, and is 12-for-31 (.387) in eight games in the month July.
Palm Beach opened up the scoring against Mark Leiter Jr. (1-1) with two down in the second inning.
Anthony Garcia shot a double to right-centerfield with one out, and after Leiter got David Popkins on a fly ball for out number two, Mason Katz walked. Dante Rosenberg then deposited a single into right field to bring across Garcia for the 1-0 Palm Beach lead.
The Cardinals (16-6) added on in the third to open up a 4-0 advantage. A walk and a single set up a two-out, three-run homer by Garcia, his eighth round-tripper of the season.
Cardinals starter and St. Petersburg product Joe Cuda (6-6) set down the first six men he faced, before Chris Serritella singled off him in the third inning.
After Palm Beach tacked on a run in the fifth to go ahead 5-0, Martinez connected an inning later to break the shutout.
With Everett Williams at first, Martinez pulled a 2-1 pitch out to the berm in left-center to get the Threshers on the board. It was his second long ball in as many days, and fifth of the season.
Leiter would be charged with his first loss in a Threshers uniform, going five innings and permitting five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two.
Palm Beach quickly responded after the Martinez homer, plating two more runs off reliever Jeb Stefan to increase the Cardinals' advantage to 7-2 in the seventh. The final tally came on a Bruce Caldwell RBI double off Ramon Oviedo in the eighth inning.
The Threshers and Cardinals will square off on Sunday at 1 p.m. on a Sunday Brunch day at Bright House Field, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on the Threshers' broadcast network beginning at 12:45 p.m.