BRADENTON, Fla. - After playing 37 innings over the last three nights, the Tampa Yankees (0-1) dropped the opener of the Florida State League Championship Series to the rested Bradenton Marauders (1-0, 8-1, on Friday night at McKechnie Field.
The Yankees split a pair of extra-inning games before winning the series in Dunedin with a 9-8 victory in regulation on Thursday, earning a spot in the finals. Bradenton swept St. Lucie to reach the championship round, winning Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tampa had a difficult time solving Yeudy Garcia (W, 1-0). The right-hander held the Yankees to one run on six hits and a hit-batter over seven innings, tallying six strikeouts while not issuing a walk. Garcia threw 67 of 89 pitches for strikes.
RHP Domingo German (L, 0-1) retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, with the exception being a solo home run by Connor Joe in the bottom of the second.
A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases for Bradenton with one out in the fourth. Joe flew out to right and Pablo Reyes tagged from third, beating Tito Polo's throw to the plate.
Taylor Gushue began the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff blast over the wall in right-center field, giving Bradenton a 3-0 lead.
Garcia struck out the side in the sixth and tallied all six of his strikeouts within the final nine batters he faced.
Kevin Cornelius put the Yankees on the board with a leadoff home run over the left-center field wall in the seventh. It was the 24-year-old's fourth extra-base hit of the playoffs.
RHP Alex Bisacca worked a 1-2-3 sixth before surrendering a run in the seventh. Jordan Luplow hit a leadoff single and later stole second. Bisacca struck out the next two hitters before Cole Tucker lined a two-out RBI single into left.
Bradenton issued the dagger in the eighth, sending 10 batters to the plate. Kevin Kramer doubled and scored on a single by Jerrick Suiter. One out later, Suiter scored on a base hit by Joe. Bisacca struck out Luplow, but left the game after issuing a two-out walk to Gushue.
RHP Eduardo Rivera entered and had trouble finding the strike zone. Three consecutive walks forced home two more runs before the inning ended on a strikeout by Kramer.
RHP Tanner Anderson (SV, 1) struck out a pair over two scoreless relief innings, holding Tampa hitless while earning the save.
The series continues with Game 2 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. RHP Luis Cedeño (0-0, -.-- ERA) will get the start, making his debut with the Tampa Yankees. RHP Austin Coley (12-10, 4.65 ERA) is slated to start for the Marauders.