The Clearwater Threshers (1-1) took advantage of a stiff wind blowing out to right field in the early innings of a 8-0 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays (1-1), hitting three home runs in the second inning and handing the DJays their first loss of the new season.
Five of the first six outs of Friday evening's game were recorded via strikeout with Clearwater starter Adonis Medina striking out the side in the first and Blue Jays starter Tayler Saucedo adding two Ks of his own in the bottom of the inning. The Jays notched the first hit of the game in the second, a single off the bat of LF Eduard Pinto that fell beyond the reach of a diving Jose Pujols in right, but Pinto was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double, ending the inning.
The prospect-laden Threshers offense showed off their immense power potential in the bottom of the second. 1B Darick Hall homered to center to lead off the inning, the first homer of the season for the slugging infielder who launched 29 last year. C Edgar Cabral followed Hall's homer with one of his own, a line drive shot to right. After Saucedo recorded the first out of the inning on a fly out, 3B Luke Williams lifted the third Threshers home run of the inning into the leftfield bullpen.
Those three home runs would be the only hits allowed by Saucedo in the game. After settling in, he allowed just one base runner through the rest of his outing, a third inning walk, finishing his first start of the year with 4.2 innings pitched, three runs allowed on three hits, and five strikeouts.
A night after holding the Threshers scoreless over the final three innings of the game to preserve a one-run victory, the Blue Jays bullpen struggled. LHP Juliandry Higuera allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in the sixth inning. After helping Higuera escape the sixth inning by recording a strikeout for the third out, RHP Connor Eller allowed a run on three hits in the seventh inning, and the Threshers added an additional run in the eighth against RHP Nick Hartman.
The Jays offense knocked seven hits but were unable to push a run across in the 8-0 loss. For the second straight night, CF Joshua Palacios had a pair of hits, going 2-4 for the game. 1B Bradley Jones finished 2-4 as well, while SS Logan Warmoth, 2B Yeltsin Gudino, and Pinto each had a hit.
Saucedo was saddled with the loss. Medina, the #4 overall prospect in the Philadelphia organization, earned the win with 5.1 shutout innings.
Both the Blue Jays and Threshers hold 1-1 records in 2018 after tonight's game. The two teams will square off again tomorrow night in Dunedin's Home Opener at Dunedin Stadium. RHP Patrick Murphy is scheduled to take the ball for the Blue Jays with LHP McKenzie Mills on the mound of Clearwater. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 and fans in attendance will receive a 2018 Dunedin Blue Jays magnet schedule at the gates (5:30 gates open) and enjoy a fireworks show following the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.