CLEARWATER, Fla. - A strong offensive showing from Luke Miller aided the Clearwater Threshers in their 6-0 victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays at Spectrum Field on Thursday night. The Threshers finished the 2019 season 8-9 against the Toronto Blue Jays' affiliate.
The scoring started for the Threshers (61-62, 25-32) in the second after James McArthur (1-1) worked around early trouble to keep the game scoreless. After the first two were retired by Tuner Larkins (5-5) in the bottom of the second, Rafael Marchan doubled to left to put a runner in scoring position. Luke Miller followed with a triple to center to score Marchan and put the Threshers ahead 1-0. The three base-hit was the first for the corner infielder with Clearwater this season.
Dunedin's (71-49, 30-25) offense threatened against McArthur in the third when the first two reached, but a flyout and double play helped the right-hander escape trouble. The 22-year-old allowed a hit in a scoreless fourth and set the tone for the Threshers' offense in the bottom of the frame.
With two away in the inning, Larkins allowed a Daniel Brito double to center to keep the inning alive. Marchan followed with a bloop single to left to score Brito and give Clearwater a 2-0 edge. A batter later, Miller lifted a two-run blast to left to increase the lead to 4-0. The long-ball was the sixth of the season for the 23-year-old.
The Philadelphia Phillies' affiliate tacked on two more runs against Larkins in the fourth before the starter exited. Matt Kroon walked to open the frame and Simon Muzziotti singled to put runners at the corners. A batter later, Jhailyn Ortiz picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly to right to bring Kroon home and extend the advantage to 5-0.
A stolen base and an error pushed Muzziotti to third and gave Matt Vierling an RBI chance. The Notre Dame product laced an RBI single to center to give the Threshers their sixth run of the game.
The cushion was enough for McArthur, who worked around trouble to finish five solid frames for his first win of 2019. The right-hander was 0-7 overall and 0-1 with Clearwater before Thursday night's contest.
The rest of the bullpen locked it down after McArthur's exit, as Keylan Killgore and Tyler Carr worked the final four frames with one hit allowed and two strikeouts. The pitching staff earned a shutout for the first time since blanking St. Lucie 3-0 on July 20 at First Data Field.
The Threshers were led offensively by Miller, who finished a double shy of the cycle in a 3-for-4 performance. It was the first three-hit game for the Indiana product this season between Lakewood and Clearwater.
The Threshers begin a three-game series with the Florida Fire Frogs at Spectrum Field beginning on Friday night. It is yet to be determined who will get the start for either team in the series opener. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with coverage beginning at 6:15 p.m. on Threshers Live! The Pregame Show at threshersbaseball.com.
Friday night's contest is the final Clearwater Beach Dogs night of 2019. The Threshers will play as their alternate identity on Friday night and wear their alternate Beach Dogs uniforms.
The home contest will also feature the Threshers Summer Concert Series Presented by Sam '76. The Black Honkeys will perform at Spectrum Field after the conclusion of the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.