JUPITER, FL- A clutch, 2-out, bases-clearing double courtesy of Cardinals' shortstop Alex Mejia propelled Palm Beach to a 4-2 victory over Tampa Wednesday night at Roger Dean Stadium.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning, Matt Williams (1-4, R) led off with a single to center field. David Popkins (2-4, R) and Starlin Rodriguez (2-4, R) then followed up with singles of their own, loading the bases for cleanup hitter Jonathan Rodriguez. After battling to a 3-2 count, Yankees starter Bryan Mitchell (6.0 IP, 9H, 4ER, 3K) got the best of Rodriguez, enticing him to check swing, resulting in a strikeout for the first out of the inning. Next batter Danny Stienstra (0-4) was unable to produce as he lined out to Mitchell. Shortstop, Alex Mejia (1-4, 2B, 3RBI, R), was the Cardinals last hope of the inning as he approached the plate with 2 outs. To the excitement of 2,114 fans in attendance at Roger Dean Stadium, the .210 hitter blasted a bases-clearing double into the left-center gap, providing his team with a 3-2 lead and a substantial sense of momentum.
The Cardinals were able to tack one more run to the scorecard in the inning when Nick Longmire (1-3, 2B, RBI) doubled in Mejia for the 4-2 lead, proving to be the final run scored of the game as Palm Beach held on for their FSL South Division leading 18th victory of the second half.
Hector Hernandez was impressive in the start for the redbirds, the left hander tossed a season-high 7 innings while giving up 2 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks and collecting 5 strikeouts. Hernandez has now won all three of his starts while in Palm Beach while posting a solid 2.65 ERA along the way.
Dean Kiekhefer (2.0 IP, H, K) earned his 4th save of the season throwing 2 innings of relief, giving up only 1 hit.
Offensively for the Cardinals, Starlin Rodriguez, David Popkins and Jesus Montero (2-3) accounted for 6 of the teams 9 hits on the night.
Yankees center fielder and #1 prospect Mason Williams extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a 1-3 effort.
Palm Beach will begin a four game set against the Daytona Cubs tomorrow, 6:35 p.m. at Roger Dean Stadium.
For more information on the Palm Beach Cardinals please visit www.palmbeachcardinals.com or call 561-799-1391.
WP: Hernandez (3-0) LP: Mitchell (4-9) S: Kiekhefer (4)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.