DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Trailing 8-1 going to the bottom of the seventh, Daytona rallied for 10-consecutive runs - including eight in the eighth - as the Tortugas stunned the St. Lucie Mets, 11-8, in front of 1,386 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Monday night.
With the win, Daytona (29-37, 64-67) keeps themselves alive in the postseason hunt. The Tortugas' triumph - coupled with Clearwater's victory over Lakeland - places them a half-game behind the Flying Tigers for the second-best overall record in the North Division. Should the Dunedin Blue Jays win the second-half title the second playoff spot in the division would go to the team with the second-best overall mark.
Behind 8-3 entering the eighth, SS José García (2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) ignited the rally with a ringing double off the left-field wall. Following a single by 1B Bruce Yari (2-5, 2 R, SO), C Hendrik Clementina (2-3, R, RBI, SO) lofted a sacrifice fly to center to pull Daytona within four, 8-4. After another base-hit and a walk, RF Drew Mount (0-2, R, 2 RBI, BB) drew a four-pitch free pass to force in a run to make it a three-run affair, 8-5.
Immediately after a pitching change, 2B Alejo López (2-5, R, 3 RBI, SO) smoked a base-hit into center. Two runs scored on the 23-year-old's single, cutting St. Lucie's (67-64, 35-30) advantage down to one, 8-7. DH Andy Sugilio (2-5, R, RBI) proceeded to flare a single over the shortstop's mitt for another knock to knot the contest up at eight.
On the very next pitch, García launched a majestic drive on top of the batting cages in left field for a go-ahead, three-run home run. The Havana, Cuba native's eighth home run of the season put the 'Tugas back in front, 11-8.
RHP Ryan Nutof (1.0 IP, H, 2 SO) made sure that the newly-acquired lead stayed put. The Elgin, Ill. native struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth inning to collect his league-leading 10th save of the year.
After the 'Tugas took a 1-0 lead in the second on a sacrifice fly courtesy of CF Lorenzo Cedrola (1-2, 2B, RBI, BB, SO), St. Lucie scored eight-straight tallies with four-run fourth and seventh innings.
Daytona's comeback began in the bottom of the seventh, as the green and white snagged a pair on a sacrifice fly by Mount and a run-producing single from López.
Tortugas' RHP Michael Byrne (1.0 IP, 2 H, SO) compiled a spotless eighth inning to earn his sixth triumph of the year. RHP Darwin Ramos (0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, SO) was saddled with a blown save and his second loss for the Mets.
Neither starter received a decision on Monday. RHP Ryan Lillie (6.0+ IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) hurled six-plus frames for the 'Tugas, while St. Lucie's RHP Jaison Vilera (6.0+ IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 SO) twirled a quality start.
We recognize Daytona Beach and Volusia County's splendid diversity on Tuesday with our second annual Interfaith and Community Night. There will be a special pregame parade along the warning track, as well as an on-field ceremony recognizing all the different religious backgrounds in attendance. It will be a Silver Sluggers Night presented by MetCare at the ballpark, as well. Members of the Tortugas' exclusive 60-and-older club receive a free drink, discounted Michelob Ultra, and a reserved ticket for every Tuesday night home game. Fans will also be able to join in with Baseball Bingo through the night. It will be another Cancer Awareness Night at the ballpark presented by Radiology Imaging Centers. Daytona players and coaches will don special pink-tinted uniforms that highlight many local cancer survivors. Fans are encouraged to come hungry for a Taco Tuesday at The Jack with beef and chicken tacos going for just $2. The evening's contest is registered to begin at 7:05 p.m.
The Tortugas Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:50 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:05 p.m. ET start at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Tuesday evening's affair can be heard on www.daytonatortugas.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
In search of their third-straight win, RHP Aaron Fossas (1-2, 4.58 ERA) is penciled in to take the hill for Daytona. The Mets are scheduled to counter with RHP Luc Rennie (7-7, 3.69 ERA).
Tickets are still currently available and can be purchased online at www.daytonatortugas.com, or by calling the Tortugas' Ticket Office at (386) 257-3172.
ABOUT THE DAYTONA TORTUGAS
The Daytona Tortugas are the High-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Florida State League. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach, Fla. Jackie Robinson Ballpark also plays host to Bethune-Cookman University, the Beijing Shougang Eagles of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) and many large community events and initiatives throughout the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.