TAMPA, Fla. - Several wasted opportunities hurt the Tampa Yankees in a 4-2 loss against the Dunedin Blue Jays in the series-opener on Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Tampa (8-9, 47-40) left 11 men on base and finished 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position while extending its losing streak to six games.
Bo Bichette, the younger brother of former T-Yanks slugger Dante Bichette Jr., paced the Dunedin (10-9, 44-44) offense with a home run and an RBI single.
RHP Erik Swanson made the start for Tampa and retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced in a no-decision.
Austin Afenir singled and Jeff Hendrix doubled to begin the third against Blue Jay starter Tyler Saucedo, but pop out, strikeout and groundout ended the chance for Tampa. Tim Lynch and Kyle Holder both walked to open the fourth, but a fielder's choice and a strike out/caught-stealing double play spoiled the opportunity.
Saucedo scattered four hits in four scoreless frames, walking two while striking out three and throwing 39 of 72 pitches for strikes.
Swanson had retired 12-straight batters until D.J. Davis legged out a bunt single in the sixth. One out later, Bichette pulled an 0-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run. It was the 19-year-old's first hit since joining Dunedin on Tuesday.
Tampa quickly answered in the sixth against RHP Ryan Cook when Trey Amburgey reached on a fielding error and scored on a game-tying, two-run home run by Lynch. The blast to right field was his second of the season and his first since homering in his first start with the T-Yanks in a win at Bradenton on June 15th.
Swanson made a quality start, holding the Blue Jays to two earned runs on three hits in six innings. The right-hander tallied five strikeouts without issuing a walk and threw 51 of 70 pitches for strikes.
Afenir and Hendrix both singled to open the seventh, but RHP Kirby Snead (W, 1-1) struck out the next two batters and worked around a two-out walk to strand the bases loaded.
Dunedin retook the lead eighth against RHP Andrew Schwaab (L, 4-2) when Davis drew a leadoff walk, stole second and later scored on a go-ahead, RBI single by Bichette. The Blue Jays added insurance with a run in the ninth off RHP Jose Pena , when Juan Kelly singled and later scored on a two-out liner to right by Davis.
The Yankees received one final chance in the bottom of the ninth against RHP Zach Jackson (SV, 2), when Afenir and Hendrix drew back-to-back walks. After a meeting on the mound, Jackson got a pair of fly outs and a strikeout to end the game.
Holder (2-for-2, 2B, 2BB) reached base in all four plate appearances in his first game back off the disabled list. Hendrix (2-for-4, 2B, BB) and Afenir (2-for-3, BB) also had multi-hit games.
The series continues on Thursday when RHP Brian Keller (0-1, 9.00 ERA) faces off against LHP Ryan Borucki (6-4, 3.60 ERA) at 7:00 p.m. On Thirsty Thursdays, fans can enjoy 16 oz. Bud and Bud Light drafts for $3 and 12 oz. fountain drinks for $1 from 6:30 p.m. - 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.