TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees began their final regular-season series with a 6-1 win over the Flying Tigers on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Tampa (44-18, 83-49) extended its win streak to seven games while eliminating Lakeland (31-28, 61-64) from postseason contention.
The Yankees are now one win shy of tying the franchise record of 84 wins set in 1996.
RHP Albert Abreu (W, 1-3) received plenty of run support as he kept the Flying Tigers off the scoreboard in his five innings of work. The 21-year-old retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced, yielding two hits without issuing a walk while stiking out five and throwing 40 of 59 pitches for strikes.
The scoring began in the third when Tim Lynch blasted a leadoff homerun over the wall in right-center. One out later, Alexander Palma singled and Hoy Jun Park walked. Both scored when Estevan Florial split the outfielders with a two-out double to the wall in left-center, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Jhalan Jackson singled and Tim Lynch doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out in the fourth. Jackson crossed the plate when Billy Fleming reached on a misplay by second-baseman Will Maddox. Palma followed with an RBI single, scoring Lynch to make it 5-0 Tampa.
Lakeland starter Kyle Dowdy retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced, but left after Donny Sands pulled a solo homer over the left field wall with one out in the seventh. It was the first time all season Dowdy allowed multiple homeruns in a game and the second time in eight days Sands took Dowdy deep.
The Flying Tigers broke the shutout in the eighth when Arvicent Perez hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out single by Sergio Alcantara.
LHP Trevor Lane allowed a pair of singles while getting one strikeout in two scoreless relief innings. RHP Matt Frawley allowed a run on three hits in the eighth and ninth and finished the game with a back-to-back strikeouts.
Dowdy (L, 8-12) allowed six earned runs on eight hits in six and a third innings, walking two while striking out five and throwing 63 of 98 pitches for strikes, and fell to 1-6 in his final seven starts with Lakeland.
Lynch (2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, 2R) extended his hitting streak to nine games while collecting his 13th homer in 54 games with Tampa. Palma (2-for-3, RBI, R) has multiple hits in three of his last six games, batting .444 (8-for-18) in that span. Florial (1-for-4, 2B, 2RBI) notched his second-straight multi-RBI game.
Tampa can find out its Florida State League North Division Championship opponent tonight if Dunedin clinches the spot with a win in Clearwater. The Threshers remain 3.0GB as they enter a four-game series with the Blue Jays. Clearwater would need to sweep Dunedin in order to claim the postseason seat.
The series continues on Saturday, when the T-Yanks host Fan Appreciation Night for the final regular-season home game. RHP Erik Swanson (7-2, 3.87 ERA) will make the start against LHP Gregory Soto (1-1, 2.05 ERA) at 7:00 p.m. On Wing Deal Fridays, fans can get all-you-can-eat chicken wings from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. for $10. 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.