TAMPA, Fla. - An eighth-inning home run by Tim Lynch proved to be the difference as the Tampa Yankees (11-9, 50-40) held on to defeat the Florida Fire Frogs (9-12, 34-53), 5-4, on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa did most of its damage in the second, scoring four runs off Florida starter Andres Santiago.
Trey Amburgey singled and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Holder before a hit-batter and a walk loaded the bases. Angel Aguilar looped a single into left, scoring Amburgey. A groundout by Wes Wilson pushed across a second run before a walk by Gosuke Katoh reloaded the bags. Nick Solak then slapped a two-run single into right.
RHP Dillon Tate retired the first six batters he faced before surrendering back-to-back solo home runs by Braxton Davidson and Justin Ellison to open the third.
The Fire Frogs added another run off Tate in the fifth when Anfernee Seymour drew a two-out walk and scored from first on a double into the right field corner by Alay Lago.
Santiago (L, 2-5) held Tampa scoreless for the rest of his six innings of work. The righty allowed four earned runs on six hits and a hit-batter, walking two while striking out two and throwing 51 of 79 pitches for strikes.
Raynel Espinal (H, 1) relieved Tate with runners on the corners in the seventh. The right-hander got a strikeout and a fly out to strand the runners and went on to retire all five batters he faced in an inning and two third.
Tate (W, 4-0) logged a quality start, holding Florida to three earned runs on six hits and a hit-batter in six and a third innings. The right-hander issued three walks while striking out four and throwing 63 of 99 pitches for strikes.
Lynch clubbed a solo homer over the right field wall off reliever Brandon White in the top of the eighth, giving Tampa a two-run cushion, 5-3.
Ellison greeted Yankees' RHP Jose Mesa (SV, 3) with a leadoff home run in the ninth, promptly cutting the lead back down to one. An infield single by Alejandro Salazar put the tying run on base before Mesa retired the next three batters to close the game.
Alexander Palma (2-for-2, 2B, HBP, R) reached base in all three of his plate appearances. Aguilar (2-for-3, RBI, R) also logged a multi-hit game. Solak (1-for-4, 2RBI) notched his ninth multi-RBI game.
The series continues on Sunday afternoon, with LHP Ian Clarkin (3-4, 2.62 ERA) making the start against RHP Enderson Franco (3-4, 5.26 ERA) at 1:00 p.m. On "Kids Funday Sunday," kids ages 14-and-under can enjoy half-priced kids' meals and run the bases after the game. For tickets and more information, call (813) 673-3055 or visit www.tybaseball.com.
Prior to the game, fans are invited to enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast beginning at 11:00 a.m. As a bonus, fans will get the chance to meet Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. A price of $30.00 includes a ticket to the game and access to the brunch. Tickets must be purchased online by 11:59 p.m. tonight.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.