CLEARWATER, Fla. - A strong outing for the Clearwater Threshers' pitching staff fell short in a 2-0 loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays in the series opener of a four-game set at Spectrum Field on Monday afternoon. The Philadelphia Phillies' affiliate was the road team in Monday's contest.
The Dunedin (69-48, 28-24) offense made things tough for Ethan Lindow (0-1) early in the first. A leadoff double by Reggie Pruitt got the frame started before a flyout from Chavez Young got Lindow the first out. Alejandro Kirk followed and grounded a single off the glove of Dalton Guthrie to score Pruitt and put Dunedin ahead 1-0. The No. 13 prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays has plated five RBI against Clearwater (60-60, 24-30) in 2019.
Lindow worked around the trouble in the first and settled in with four scoreless frames. The 20-year-old allowed just two hits from the second through the fifth and retired six in a row to finish the outing. The left-hander's Advanced A debut was marked by six strikeouts and no walks over five strong frames.
Keylan Killgore entered in relief in the bottom of the sixth and picked up a strikeout in the scoreless frame. The Wichita State product's 54 strikeouts rank fourth on the Threshers pitching staff in 2019. Killgore ran into trouble in the seventh and Dunedin rallied for its second run.
Kirk delivered a double to left to open the frame and reached third after a flyout from Demi Orimoloye. With Ryan Noda batting with one away, Rafael Marchan tried to pick Kirk off a third, but the throw went down the line and allowed Kirk to score the game's second run. Killgore was lifted for Tyler Carr after back-to-back walks, but the right-hander worked around the trouble to keep the deficit at two.
Clearwater's best offensive chance came after Simeon Woods Richardson's (1-2) exit and Emerson Jimenez's struggles in the eighth. With one away, Luke Miller's infield single and walks from Dalton Guthrie and Matt Kroon loaded the bases for Simon Muzziotti. Jimenez got Muzziotti to fly out to center and retired Daniel Brito the same way a batter later to finish off the Clearwater scoring threat.
Carr held Dunedin off the board with two strikeouts in the eighth, but the Threshers couldn't put together a rally in the ninth against Jimenez to drop the series opener. The hard-throwing right-hander for the Blue Jays earned a save for the first time this year in the victory.
Clearwater's pitching staff has held Dunedin to just four runs over its last three games against the club. The arms have pitched to a 3.07 ERA against the Toronto Blue Jays' affiliate while striking out 138 batters over 14 games against the divisional opponent. The season series between the two Florida State League North division clubs is tied at seven in 2019 with three more games to play.
The Threshers look to even the series in game two of the four-game series with the D-Jays at Spectrum Field on Tuesday night. RHP Andrew Brown (3-6, 6.72) gets the ball for Clearwater against a pitcher yet to be determined for Dunedin. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m. on Threshers Live! The Pregame Show at threshersbaseball.com.
Tuesday's contest features the second to last Dollar Tuesday of the season. Berm tickets are just $1 dollar and available walk-up at Spectrum Field. Plus, enjoy $1 hot dogs, 16oz fountain sodas, chips, peanuts and more.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.