RHP Justin Dillon got the start for Dunedin, looking for his first win since April 12th. The righty was cruising along having completed five scoreless without allowing a hit. In the bottom of the sixth, Jason Lopez smacked a double off the left field wall to register the first hit for Tampa. Welfrin Mateo dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put Lopez at third with one out. Max Burt then singled through the drawn in infield to make it 1-0 Tampa. Two hitters later, Pablo Olivares singled and Oswaldo Cabrera pushed a single to right to score Burt and make it 2-0 Tarpons. Dillon was lifted for RHP Kyle Weatherly who struck out Dermis Garcia with runners at second and third to work out of the jam and stop the bleeding.
In the top of the seventh, Samad Taylor doubled with one out and later scored on a wild pitch to pull Dunedin to within one. Tampa answered swiftly in the bottom of the seventh. Isiah Gilliam lifted a double to right and two batters later, Jason Lopez lined out to right fielder Demi Orimoloye on a diving play that allowed Gilliam to score from third to bring the score to 3-1 in favor of the Tarpons.
In the top of the ninth, RHP Hobie Harris attempted to register the save in his third inning of work. Hunter Steinmetz was hit by the pitch with one out. Kevin Vicuna then grounded out softly to second basemen Oswaldo Cabrera to move Steinmetz into scoring position. Norberto Obeso smacked a single to left that scored Steinmetz to cut the Tampa lead to 3-2. Cullen Large then singled and Ryan Noda walked to load the bases. First year skipper Aaron Holbert summoned RHP Matt Wivinis out of the pen to face Alejandro Kirk. Alejandro drilled a fastball to the left center field gap to clear the bases and give Dunedin the 5-3 lead.
RHP William Ouellette finished the game off in the bottom of the frame and picked up his first win since returning from a stint in AAA-Buffalo. Ouellette threw two scoreless while righty Kyle Weatherly threw an inning and a third out of the pen for the D-Jays.
The Blue Jays are now 7-3 in series openers in 2019. Game two of the series takes place tomorrow at George M. Steinbrenner Field at 6:30 E.T. RHP Turner Larkins (3-1, 1.57) takes the ball for Dunedin against RHP Shawn Semple (0-1, 7.20) who starts for Tampa. All the play-by-play action can be heard on the Dunedin Blue Jays Baseball Network through TuneIn Radio with coverage beginning at 6:15 E.T.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.