CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers' late-inning rally fell short on Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Field in a 7-5 loss to the Daytona Tortugas. The Threshers took three of four in the series, and head into the league-wide off day with a 5-2 record through the first week of the second half.
The two teams traded scoreless innings in the first and second before the Tortugas (38-34, 3-4) broke through in the third. Bruce Yari led off the frame against Colton Eastman (4-3) with a solo shot to right field to give Daytona a 1-0 lead.
Wennington Romero (1-1) settled in against a hot Clearwater (41-32, 5-2) lineup after being given the lead. The lefty struck out six while scattering six hits in seven frames for his first win of the year.
Eastman went toe-for-toe against Romero until the sixth. With two runners on and two out, Hendrik Clementina took an Eastman fastball out to left for a 4-0 Daytona lead.
The Tortugas added three more against Oscar Marcelino in the eighth to push their lead to 7-0. The Threshers made their comeback bid against the Daytona bullpen in the bottom half of the frame.
Aneurys Zabala made his second appearance of the series and continued to struggle with control. A walk, a hit batter and a single loaded the bases for Madison Stokes, who put the Threshers on the board with an RBI single. Luke Miller followed with an RBI groundout off the glove of Yonathan Mendoza to cut the Daytona lead to 7-2. A sharp groundout from Matt Kroon pushed across Jhailyn Ortiz, and a wild pitch to score Stokes shrunk Daytona's lead to 7-4.
Clearwater found a way again to rally against Tortuga pitching in the ninth. Andy Cox (SV, 6) entered the game and allowed two runners to reach for Stokes, who picked up his third hit and second RBI to make it 7-5. Cox would end the threat with a strikeout of Luke Miller to pick up his sixth save of the year.
Dalton Guthrie continued his post-all-star break streak, as the middle infielder finished with three hits on Sunday afternoon, and finished the series with a 10-for-14 performance at the plate. The Florida product is batting .556 since the second half started on June 17, raising his average from .195 to .242.
Despite the loss, the Threshers finished 8-4 against the Cincinnati Reds affiliate in 2019. The Philadelphia Phillies affiliate took three-of-four in the series and has won back-to-back series to open the second half. Clearwater remains a half game ahead of the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League North second half standings.
After the league-wide off day on Monday, Clearwater will hit the road for a three-game set with Lakeland beginning Tuesday morning at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. RHP Alejandro Requena (5-4, 4.96) will get the start for the Threshers in the opener against Flying Tigers' RHP Jesus Rodriguez (2-9, 6.08). First pitch on Tuesday morning is set for 10:30 a.m. with coverage beginning at 10:15 on Threshers Live! The Pregame Show at threshersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.