The Dunedin Blue Jays (38-31, 72-66 overall) dropped the final game of the regular season and their final tune-up before the Florida State League playoffs by a 3-1 score to the Clearwater Threshers (29-39, 67-71) on Sunday evening at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
The Blue Jays spotted starter Patrick Murphy an early run in his second FSL start. RF Connor Panas hit a ground ball to Threshers second baseman Grenny Cumana to lead off the inning. Cumana was unable to corral the grounder, allowing Panas to reach on a fielding error. When the Threshers were slow to retrieve the ball in shallow right field, Panas motored into second, giving the Blue Jays a runner in scoring position on pure hustle. The next batter, Juan Kelly, moved Panas up with a ground ball to the right side, and Michael De La Cruz singled him home.
A pair of doubles by Mark Laird and Darick Hall in the top of the third tied the game for the Threshers.
Wilson Garcia led off the sixth inning with a double that was misplayed by LF D.J. Davis and move dto third on a double by Edgar Cabral. A sacrifice fly by Jose Pujols scored Garcia, and a fielding error by SS J.C. Cardenas allowed Cabral to score and gave Clearwater a 3-1 lead.
The two runs ended Patrick Murphy's night. The 24th-ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system went 5.2 innings, gave up three runs on eight hits, and struck out four. He was relieved by RHP Nick Hartman, who tossed 1.1 hitless innings. In 7.1 innings with Dunedin this season, Hartman has yet to allow a hit while striking out five. RHP Zach Jackson and LHP Kirby Snead combined to hold Clearwater scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, but the Blue Jays offense was unable to score off the Threshers bullpen and the Jays fell by the 3-1 score.
Murphy took the loss for the Jays, his first, and JoJo Romero earned the win for the Threshers. Romero threw 6.0 innings and allowed just the unearned run on four hits. Seranthony Dominguez, Trevor Bettencourt, and Seth McGarry combined to finish the game on the mound for Clearwater, with McGarry picking up his 19th save. The save ties McGarry for the lead league with fellow Thresher Jeff Singer.
After an off day on Labor Day, the Blue Jays will begin a three-game playoff series with the Tampa Yankees on Tuesday, September 5th. The first game of the series will be held in Dunedin at 6:30 on Tuesday and games two and (if necessary) three will be held in Tampa. RHP Josh DeGraaf (7-4, 3.32 ERA) is scheduled to square off against Brian Keller (5-3, 2.90 ERA) in the opener.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.