PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Spencer Howard whirled five shutout innings in the Clearwater Threshers' 3-0 victory over the St. Lucie Mets on Saturday night at First Data Field. The Philadelphia Phillies fifth-ranked prospect (MLB.com) has not allowed a run since returning to the Advanced-A level on July 8, and stretching his scoreless-innings streak to 24.1 as a Thresher dating back to April 16.
The right-hander allowed just one hit through his first five frames before a lead-off double from Edgardo Fermin started the sixth. The 22-year-old retired the next three batters to work out of the jam and keep the 3-0 lead intact. The California native earned his second win of the season to help stop the club's seven-game losing streak.
The starter was handed the advantage when Clearwater's (51-46, 15-16) plated all three runs on the night in the fifth against Tylor Megill (0-1).
Matt Kroon flew out to right on the first pitch of the inning, but Dalton Guthrie reached on a flare to right for his second hit of the contest. With Simon Muzziotti at the dish, the base runner stole second and reached third on an errant throw from Dan Rizzie behind the plate.
Muzziotti worked a walk to put runners on the corners for Nick Maton, who lifted a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 edge. Rodolfo Duran plugged the gap in right-center for an RBI triple to give the visitors an insurance run, and Matt Vierling sent the next pitch into right field for a run-scoring single and a 3-0 lead.
Muzziotti extended his on-base and hitting streaks with a bunt single in the third. The 20-year-old has reached safely over his last 14 games, and has collected at least one hit in eight straight performances.
Keylan Killgore tossed a scorless seventh, and Zach Warren (SV, 6) earned the save by keeping St. Lucie (52, 46, 20-12) off the board in the eighth and ninth.
Clearwater goes for the series victory in the rubber match against St. Lucie in the finale of the three-game set at First Data Field on Sunday afternoon. RHP Andrew Brown (2-5, 7.67) gets the call for the Threshers against the Mets' RHP Austin McGeorge (0-0, --). First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m., with coverage beginning at 11:45 a.m. with Threshers Live! The Pregame Show on threshersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.