Chien-Ming Wang threw five innings in his last rehab start, but it was Jonathan Ortiz who pitched lights-out for Tampa on Thursday.
Wang climbed the mound at Legends Field for his expected final rehab start against visiting Fort Myers before rejoining the New York Yankees as early as this weekend for their series against the Boston Red Sox. Tampa eventually won, 4-3.
The 2006 Cy Young runner-up, who had been projected as the Opening Day starter in the Bronx before suffering a right hamstring pull toward the end of Spring Training, faced 22 batters over five innings, giving up three runs on five hits and one walk. Wang struck out four and got Fort Myers hitters to ground out six times.
Wang pitched well in four of the five innings, but encountered trouble in the third. Steven Tolleson coaxed a two-out walk out of Wang, then stole second and went to third on Dwayne White's infield single.
Whitney Robbins' single and a double by Erik Lis staked Fort Myers (6-7) to a 3-1 lead, but that was about all the Miracle got against Wang. He retired six of the last eight batters he faced.
In his only other rehab appearance, Wang fired five hitless innings for the Gulf Coast Yankees against the GCL Devil Rays on April 14.
Things became more difficult for Fort Myers when the Yankees (7-7) brought in Ortiz, who was making his 2007 debut. The 21-year-old right-hander did not allow a single batter to reach base over three innings while striking out seven, with six of them swinging through strike three. Jose Valdez (1-0) picked up the win after tossing a scoreless ninth.
Reegie Corona made Valdez a winner with a two-run walk-off double. With runners on second and third, Corona pulled a pitch from Angel Garcia to right field deep enough to score both runners and get Tampa to a .500 record. Corona finished the game 4-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored.
Miracle starter Alex Smit struck out seven while giving up two runs on six hits and a walk. Robbins led Fort Myers at the plate with a 2-for-3 night.
Garcia (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up two runs on two hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings.