TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees (12-9, 51-40) used a five-run, two-out rally in the seventh, including a go-ahead hit by birthday boy Jeff Hendrix , to grab a late lead before holding on to beat the Florida Fire Frogs (9-13, 34-54), 6-4, on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
LHP Ian Clarkin allowed two early runs before logging a quality start for Tampa.
Back-to-back singles by Carlos Castro and Brett Cumberland began the second. Andrew Daniel bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, but Castro advanced to third and then scored on a two-out hit by Matt Gonzalez.
Ray-Patrick Didder reached on a hit-by-pitch and went first-to-third on a base hit by Alay Lago, beating a throw by left-fielder Alexander Palma .
Palma drilled a two-out, solo home run over the left field wall off Florida starter Enderson Franco in the fourth, cutting the deficit in half. It was Palma's first home run since joining Tampa after hitting one in seven games with Single-A Charleston.
Franco held Tampa to one earned run on three hits in five innings, walking three while striking out four and throwing 52 of 81 pitches for strikes.
RHP Josh Graham (BS, 2)(L, 1-3) relieved Franco in the sixth and retired the side in order. In the seventh, Palma lined a leadoff single and stole second after Graham struck out the next two batters. The following six batters, however, would reach safely.
Angel Aguilar tied the game with an RBI single into center and advanced to second as Palma beat the play to the plate. On his 24th birthday, Hendrix brought home the go-ahead run with a base hit into right. After a walk by Gosuke Katoh , a wild pitch put runners at second and third. Nick Solak followed with an infield single, scoring Hendrix. Katoh then scored on a base hit to right by Tim Lynch.
The Fire Frogs brought in LHP Corbin Clouse and Kyle Holder greeted the reliever by pulling an RBI single into right, scoring Solak to give the Yankees a 6-2 lead.
Didder led off the eighth with a base hit against RHP Jordan Foley and scored, one out later, when Alex Jackson pulled a two-run homer off the left field foul pole. Foley later stranded a two-out walk to finish the inning. The right-hander then pitched a perfect ninth, tallying two more strikeouts to give him four in two innings of work.
Clarkin (W, 4-4) kept Florida off the board for the rest of his seven innings of work, retiring the final seven batters he faced. The southpaw allowed two earned runs on eight hits and a hit-batter, walking one while striking out seven and throwing 65 of 101 pitches for strikes.
Palma (3-for-4, HR, RBI, 2R, SB) logged his second three-hit game of the season and first with Tampa. Hendrix (2-for-3, 2B, BB, RBI, R, SB) extended his hitting streak to six games. Aguilar (1-for-3, BB, RBI, R) also reached base multiple times.
The series wraps up on Monday at 7:00 p.m., with the matchup featuring RHP Erik Swanson (1-2, 3.73 ERA) and LHP Oriel Caicedo (0-0, 6.75 ERA). Gates will open at 6:00 p.m. on "$1 Hot Dog Monday." Fans can enjoy $1 Scooter Dogs all night. For tickets and more information, call (813) 673-3055 or visit www.tybaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.