TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (24-30) set the tone early Thursday night, defeating the Palm Beach Cardinals at George M. Steinbrenner Field, 4-0. The Tarpons got off to quick start with a three-run homer off the bat of 3B Marcos Cabrera in the first inning. The blast proved to
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (24-30) set the tone early Thursday night, defeating the Palm Beach Cardinals at George M. Steinbrenner Field, 4-0. The Tarpons got off to quick start with a three-run homer off the bat of 3B Marcos Cabrera in the first inning. The blast proved to be all the offense necessary to secure the victory as Tampa’s pitching staff held Palm Beach to just one hit the entire game.
CF Jasson Dominguez kicked things off in the bottom of the first with an infield single to third. Dominguez showed off his tremendous speed, putting it into second gear to beat Osvaldo Tovalin’s throw by a step. C Antonio Gomez ripped a single of his own right up the middle and the Tarpons found themselves sitting pretty with one out. Cabrera would take care of the rest, annihilating the 1-0 offering from Chris Gerard (2-3) well beyond the left field fence to put Tampa on top 3-0.
RHP Juan Carela (3-1) drew the start for Tampa and provided the home crowd with another quality start. Carela was surgical on the mound, racking up a season-high nine strikeouts. He flirted with a no-hitter over six scoreless innings of work, allowing only two walks and eventually one lone hit. Carela’s no-hit bid ended in the sixth inning with two outs, as Tovalin was able to sneak a ground ball past the right side for a single.
Manager Rachael Balkovec called upon RHP Harold Cortijo to begin the seventh and relieve Carela of his duties. Cortijo dug himself into an early hole with back-to-back walks to start the frame. With the tying run now up to the plate, Cortijo gathered himself and retired the next three straight.
The Tarpons tacked on an unorthodox insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Cardinals’ reliever Roy Garcia struggled heavily with command, walking FOUR Tarpons in a row. RF Kyle Battle worked a four-pitch free pass to plate 1B Anthony Garcia and increase the lead to 4-0.
Newest Tampa reliever LHP Gerrit van Zijll was tasked with recording the last three outs and tossed a blemish-free ninth inning.
The Tarpons will look to keep the ball rolling on Friday as they host the Cardinals for game four of their six game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM EST, with RHP Richard Fitts (0-4, 7.39 ERA) tabbed to make the start for Tampa.