TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (27-38) experienced a bit of déjà vu Wednesday night, falling to the Clearwater Threshers (34-30), 4-3. Despite carrying a two-run lead into the fifth inning as they did last night, the Tarpons found themselves in a familiar spot – unable to close the door.
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (27-38) experienced a bit of déjà vu Wednesday night, falling to the Clearwater Threshers (34-30), 4-3. Despite carrying a two-run lead into the fifth inning as they did last night, the Tarpons found themselves in a familiar spot – unable to close the door. Out of their last eight losses, Tampa has lost seven of them by one run. To make things worse, the Threshers improved to a perfect 8-0 against the Tarpons this season.
RHP Domingo Germán graced the mound for the Tarpons in his first MLB rehab start of the season. Germán has been sidelined since the beginning of the season with right shoulder impingement syndrome. His first start was a solid one, and the right shoulder looked to be healthy. Over three scoreless innings of work, Germán only allowed a single in the top of the third.
Tampa provided Germán with some early run support, eerily similar to the way they started yesterday’s contest. SS Alexander Vargas and DH Jasson Dominguez were both granted free passes to open the bottom of the first. Vargas advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third on Dominguez’s ball four. With runners on the corners, 1B Anthony Garcia singled past the shortstop to drive in Vargas and plate the first run of the game. The threat would unfortunately die down after Clearwater starter Eiberson Castellano induced 3B Marcos Cabrera to ground into a double play.
In the bottom of the second, FSL Player of the Week LF Grant Richardson teed off on a 1-0 offering from Castellano – the towering blast just stayed fair of the left field foul pole, and the Tarpons took a 2-0 lead.
RHP Yon Castro was tabbed to replace Germán to begin the top of the fourth and finished the frame unscathed.
The same could not be said the next inning, as Castro loaded the bases with walks. Leandro Pineda would not waste the opportunity, dropping an RBI single in front of CF Madison Santos to score two runs. As for that déjà vu, Pineda knotted things up at two apiece last night as well in the top half of the fifth.
Donny Sands, the former Yankees’ farmhand who drove in the go-ahead run in yesterday’s contest, obliterated LHP Gerrit van Zijll’s 2-2 pitch deep into the right field seats to put Clearwater on top, 3-2.
Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, 2B Roberto Chirinos roped a ground ball double into left field. A wild pitch by Clearwater relief pitcher Konnor Ash moved him to third, and Vargas plated him on a SAC Fly to tie the game heading into the ninth.
LHP Ryan Anderson (2-4) was able to record three outs in the top of frame, setting the Tarpons up for a potential walk-off victory.
The home half of the ninth started with a bang, as C Antonio Gomez roped a sharp line drive double to left field. The hit appeared to likely be a single but Gomez was on his horse and would not be denied, beating the relay throw to second. Garcia was intentionally walked but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Cabrera. Cabrera advanced to second on defensive indifference, leaving the Tarpons with runners on second and third with one out. Despite the recipe for success, an extremely costly baserunning gaffe by Cabrera all but took the wind out of Tampa’s sails. Santos ripped a screamer to shortstop Erick Brito, who was playing up on the infield grass in an all-in shift. Gomez froze at third, but Cabrera broke on contact and forced Gomez into a pickle. Richardson would strike out the following at-bat to force free baseball at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Anderson was unable to keep Clearwater off the board in extras as Pineda drove a SAC Fly to deep center field to score the extra innings “ghost runner”.
Richardson started on second base for the Tarpons in the bottom half of the tenth and advanced to third on a wild pitch. All Tampa needed was one deep enough hit into the outfield to tie things at four, but all three batters came up empty.
The Tarpons return to action tomorrow night as they host the Threshers for game three of their six game set. RHP Juan Carela (4-1, 2.31 ERA) is expected to make the start, with first pitch thrown at 6:30 PM EST.