Jupiter, FL - The Palm Beach Cardinals rallied from four runs down and used a Luke Voit RBI double in the eighth inning to top the Tampa Yankees 5-4 on Friday night at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals have won seven straight and are 39-13 over their last 52 games overall.
Voit crushed a Ramon Benjamin fastball deep to the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth, sending Ildemaro Vargas home to give Palm Beach the 5-4 lead. Vargas reached on a fielding error, moved to second after Bruce Caldwell laid down a sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on Voit's RBI missile.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Cardinals (21-6, 57-39) found a way to chip at the Yankee lead to have a shot at winning the game late.
Caldwell and Voit hit back-to-back singles in the bottom half of the fourth. Nick Martini came through with a huge two-out RBI single later in the inning to plate Caldwell and get the Cardinals on the board, 4-1. Voit later scored on a Brady Lail wild pitch to trim the deficit to 4-2.
The very next inning, Palm Beach tallied two more runs to even the score 4-4. Cesar Valera hit an infield single to leadoff the frame and completed his round-trip home when Charlie Tilson laced his second triple in two games to the wall in right. Tilson trotted the remaining 90 feet to the dish on a Vargas sacrifice fly in the next at-bat.
Voit's clutch, late-game heroics completed yet another come-from-behind win for Palm Beach.
The win was the 22nd comeback victory for the Cardinals this season and seventh in 15 games this month. The Birds have won three straight games after trailing the Yankees (12-15, 45-52) in the current series.
One of the biggest reasons for the Cardinals' recent late-game success has been the stinginess of the bullpen. Logan Billbrough, Corey Baker and Danny Miranda Jr. were fantastic in five scoreless innings in relief of starter Tyrell Jenkins on Friday. The trio allowed just two hits and two walks while fanning five to finish the game.
The Palm Beach bullpen has allowed just one run in the last 20.1 innings of work. The group has struck out 24 batters compared to four walks.
Jenkins was cruising through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. The Yankees scored four runs - two earned - on three hits and one error in the inning. Jenkins' night would be done after the final out was recorded in the fourth.
Baker (4-1) earned the win with two strong innings while Miranda closed the door firmly in the ninth to preserve the win and his third save.
Ramon Benjamin (0-1) was charged with the loss for Tampa after the Cardinals scored an unearned run on him in the eighth.
The two teams will play the final game of the four-game series on Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. RH Joe Cuda (6-6, 5.74) will start for Palm Beach against LH Caleb Smith (0-0, 0.00) for Tampa.
The night will also feature Roger Dean Stadium's sixth event of the Great Eight promotions of the season: Swings and Wings. A wing cook-off will be taking place in the concourse from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a wing eating contest, delicious food and much more.