CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers were shut out by the Florida Fire Frogs, 4-0, in the series finale of a three-game set at Spectrum Field on Sunday afternoon. The Threshers suffered their third series sweep of 2019 with the loss, with all three coming at home. The Philadelphia Phillies affiliate was also held off the scoreboard for the fifth time in July.
The Clearwater (50-43, 14-13) starting pitching continued to set the tone in a scoreless game early. Right-hander Spencer Howard dialed up five strikeouts over his first three frames. The No. 5 prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization allowed just one base runner through four innings - walk from CJ Alexander.
Howard finished his outing by setting down Florida (33-59, 8-18) in order in the fifth, picking up his seventh strikeout along the way. The 22-year-old flamethrower went five hitless innings and threw just 68 pitches. Howard has struck out 49 batters this season and had his fifth outing with seven or more strikeouts with the Threshers.
Since returning from the injured list, Howard has not allowed a run in nine innings and has given up just one hit over that stretch. The right-hander has given up just 18 hits in 2019.
Neither side would break through in the game until the seventh. After Clearwater could not score a runner from second against Florida's bullpen in the sixth, Trey Harris put Florida up 1-0 with a single against Tyler Carr (2-1). The right-hander finished two innings but picked up his first loss of the year.
Florida pushed its lead further in the ninth against lefty Keylan Killgore. Brett Langhorne singled and stole second to lead off the frame and Andrew Moritz brought him home with an RBI single. Two batters later Harris hit a line drive two-run shot to left to put Florida ahead 4-0.
The first two batters were retired in the bottom of the frame before Nick Maton singled against Sean McLaughlin. Rodolfo Duran could not extend the game after that, as he rolled a ball to third for the final out and Florida held on to secure the sweep.
After the league-wide off day on Monday, Clearwater will look to get back on track when they visit the Bradenton Marauders for a three-game set beginning Tuesday at LECOM Park. It is yet to be determined who will start for either team in the series opener on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with coverage beginning from LECOM Park at 6:15 p.m. at threshersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.