PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers shook off the series sweep to the Florida Fire Frogs with a 4-1 victory over the St. Lucie Mets on Tuesday night at First Data Field to start out a three-game series. The victory paired with the Daytona Tortugas' loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays puts the Threshers back into a tie for the top Wild Card spot in the Florida State League North division.
Jhailyn Ortiz started the night off by sending the second pitch from Jaison Vilera (2-1) over the wall in left for the instant lead. The young sluggers went yard against the right-hander again in the fifth, sending a two-run laser out to left to extend the advantage out to 3-0.
Tuesday was the second time this season the 20-year-old drove multiple home runs out of the yard, with the last occurrence coming against the Bradenton Marauders on June 19.
The three-run lead was more than enough room for Andrew Brown (4-7) to work with. Clearwater's (62-65, 26-35) starter allowed just one run on an RBI single from big league rehabber Jed Lowrie, but did not allow any other damage in his six innings of work.
The 21-year-old hurled his third quality start of the season, and first against a team other than Dunedin.
Simon Muzziotti added the fourth run of the night for the visitors in the ninth inning. After Matt Kroon walked to lead off the inning, Dalton Guthrie singled to right to put two on for Ortiz. A wild pitch in the at-bat allowed the runners to advance 90 ft., but Ortiz flew out to center for the first out.
Muzziotti dragged a bunt down the first base line and was thrown out with Kroon scoring on the play to put the lead back out to three.
Keylan Killgore (SV, 10) needed only seven pitch to work through the bottom half of the frame to earn his 10th save in 11 tries. The southpaw struck out the first two batters he faced before Nick Meyer bunted the first pitch to Kroon at first to end the game.
St. Lucie (67-58, 35-24) dropped its sixth consecutive game, and has only scored six runs since the skid began on Aug. 13.
Clearwater goes for the series victory in game two of the three-game series on Wednesday night at First Data Field. RHP Alejandro Requena (7-10, 5.21) takes the mound for the Threshers against the Mets' LHP Thomas Szapucki (1-2, 3.60). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with coverage beginning at 6:15 p.m. on 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.