TAMPA, Fla. - Fort Myers (9-4, 42-39) jumped out to a five-run lead and collected 15 hits as the Tampa Yankees (8-5, 47-36) dropped the rubber game to the Miracle, 8-3, on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
RHP Brian Keller made the start in his High-A debut with Tampa and retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into trouble in the third.
The Miracle snapped the scoreless tie when Tanner English lined a single into centerfield, stole second and third base before scoring on a two-out, seeing-eye single into right by Nelson Molina.
Austin Aune led off the bottom of the third with a single and, two outs later, Daniel Barrios drew a walk. Nick Solak grounded a single into right, but right-fielder Jaylin Davis threw Aune out at the plate to end the inning.
Fort Myers padded its lead with a rally in the fourth. Zander Wiel lined a one-out single and scored when Davis blasted a two-run homer over the wall in right-center. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases and a base hit by Sean Miller pushed across another run. Nelson Molina capped the scoring with an RBI groundout.
Back-to-back doubles by Alexander Palma and Tim Lynch put Tampa on the board against LHP Lewis Thorpe in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 5-1.
Keller (L, 0-1) pitched a perfect fifth inning before exiting. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on eight hits, walking two while striking out five. Keller threw 58 of 94 pitches for strikes.
Tampa chipped away in the sixth when Solak drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-run home run by Trey Amburgey .
Thorpe (W, 2-2) allowed three earned runs on seven hits in five and two-third innings, walking four while striking out six. The southpaw threw 60 of 99 pitches for strikes.
Fort Myers added to its lead off RHP Josh Roeder in the eighth. Wiel drilled a leadoff double and, two outs later, Shane Kennedy drew a walk. Back-to-back singles by English and Miller drove in three runs, giving the Miracle an 8-3 lead.
LHP Andrew Vasquez struck out four and stranded three base runners in two and a third scoreless frames before RHP Tom Hackimer struck out one and faced the minimum in the ninth, closing the game for Fort Myers.
LHP James Reeves relieved Keller with a perfect sixth before working around a pair of singles in a scoreless seventh. RHP Andrew Schwaab stranded a pair of singles in a scoreless ninth.
Amburgey (2-for-4, HR, 2RBI, R) clubbed his team-leading 11th home run of the season. The 23-year-old also leads the T-Yanks with 40RBI. Lynch (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) also logged a multi-hit game.
Up next, the T-Yanks travel to Bradenton to battle the Marauders in a four-game series at LECOM Park. RHP Taylor Widener (5-6, 3.67 ERA) is scheduled to face LHP Taylor Hearn (4-6, 4.23 ERA) in the opener on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Live audio will be available on the Tampa Yankees Radio Network beginning at 6:20 p.m.
The Yankees return home to begin a series with the Dunedin Blue Jays on Wednesday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m. As part of Wine Wednesday, fans can enjoy half priced wine from 6:30-8:30 p.m. For 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.