PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Three runs in the ninth inning broke a 6-6 tie and gave the Manatees a 9-6 win over the Stone Crabs at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday evening.
Brevard County (18-23 second half, 55-53 overall) had led, 6-3, entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but surrendered that lead completely on two singles, two walks and a ground-rule double against the combination of Chad Pierce and Tommy Toledo.
The Manatees earned all three runs back in the final frame, which was led off by a Nicky Delmonico single that brought in Lenny Linsky to replace Bruedlin Suero (0-1). A single by Cameron Garfield and a sacrifice bunt from Greg Hopkins greeted Linsky, putting runners on second and third with one out.
Cody Hawn was intentionally walked to load the bases before D'Vontrey Richardson knocked in a pair, and Yadiel Rivera also had a solo homer.
Richardson and Delmonico each finished with three hits on the night, accounting for six of Brevard's 15 in total. Mitch Haniger and Ben McMahan's doubles were the only extra-base hits. The only Manatee not to hit safely was Greg Hopkins, with Rivera, Nick Ramirez and Garfield notching two hits apiece.
It was the fourth three-hit game on Richardson's current 13-game hitting streak. He also has four two-hit games, and is batting .431 (25-for-58) since July 23.
Haniger led the team with three RBIs, including one on his ground-rule double, one when he reached on an error, and another when he took a bases-loaded walk.
Hawn gave the Manatees an early lead with an RBI single in the second inning.
Charlotte (23-17, 52-55) rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the same frame, but that lead didn't last long as Brevard fought right back.
All with two outs, a Rivera single and stolen base, Ramirez single, Haniger double and back-to-back singles from Delmonico and Garfield put three runs on the board and gave the Manatees a 4-2 lead before the final out was recorded in the inning.
Each team scored again in the fifth, then the Manatees added an extra insurance run in the sixth before Charlotte's three-run eighth tied the contest.
In a Major League rehab appearance, Milwaukee's Mark Rogers threw the first two innings of the game. He retired the first five batters he faced, but then surrendered two runs on three hits. He did not walk or strike out anybody.
Chad Pierce took the game into the eighth, pitching 5.0 frames with a line that included three runs, four hits, two walks and two strikeouts. One of those hits was a home run by Hector Guevara in the fifth.
Tommy Toledo (3-2) blew the save in the eighth, but went on to earn the win as he took responsibility for one run on two hits and two walks. He also had one strikeout.
On the other side, Felipe Rivero was touched for six runs, five of them earned, on 11 hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Matt Ramsey threw 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, but the Manatees were able to draw four walks against him.
Six total walks taken to just four strikeouts for the Manatees offense marked the first time this season that Brevard County drew more free passes than struck out.
The final game between the Manatees and Stone Crabs in 2013 will be played in Charlotte on Monday night at 6:30 p.m.