Florial's Homer Lifts Tarpons Over Cardinals, 5-1

Cordero Debuts with Three Perfect Relief Innings

Estevan Florial (right) his greeted by Kyle Gray (#4) and Pablo Olivares after smashing a go-ahead three-run home run in the 6th inning in Tampa's 5-1 win over Palm Beach on Monday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Mark LoMoglio)

By Nick Flammia / Tampa Tarpons | August 12, 2019 10:34 PM

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the Palm Beach Cardinals, 5-1, in the opener of a four-game series on Monday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Estevan Florial delivered a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth, and Tampa got three perfect relief innings by 19-year-old RHP Diego Cordero .


After a 15-minute rain delay, RHP Glenn Otto made his fourth appearance since returning from the injured list and walked the first two batters of the game before getting a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double-play, followed by an inning-ending groundout by Luken Baker.


Otto worked around a one-out walk in the second and finished strong by adding three more strikeouts while stranding a two-out single by Chase Pinder in the third. The 23-year-old left after 63 pitches (36 strikes), scattering three walks and one hit in three scoreless frames.


RHP Edgar Gonzalez started for Palm Beach (18-34, 53-63) and faced the minimum before back-to-back singles by Pablo Olivares and Florial began the fourth. One out later, Gonzalez got Alexander Palma to ground into an inning-ending double-play.


Cordero (W, 1-0) relieved Otto in the fourth, making his Tarpons debut. The 19-year-old retired all nine batters he faced while striking out three over three scoreless innings.


Gonzalez worked a scoreless fifth before walking Kyle Gray and Olivares to begin the sixth. Gray took third on a wild pitch before Florial smashed an opposite-field three-run homer to left, snapping a streak of 19-straight run drought by the Tarpons.


Two outs later, Mickey Gasper reached on a hit-by-pitch and took second on an errant pickoff throw by catcher Ivan Herrera before scoring on a line drive single to right by Wilkerman Garcia , giving Tampa (25-26, 53-64) a 4-0 lead.


RHP Cole Aker relieved Gonzalez and struck out Steven Sensley before the game entered a 40-minute rain delay. Gonzalez (6-14) allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, two walks and two hit-batters in five and two-third innings, striking out seven on 99 pitches (60 strikes).


After the delay, RHP Matt Wivinis took over on the mound and stranded a leadoff walk in the seventh before working around a walk and a hit in the eighth, keeping the shutout alive.


Jason Lopez greeted RHP Leonardo Taveras in the seventh with a double down the right field line and, one out later, scored when Taveras walked Olivares, Florial and Oswaldo Cabrera , consecutively. The 19-year-old retired the next five batters, including four-straight strikeouts.


Baker blasted a leadoff triple off the centerfield wall in the ninth and scored on a groundout by Nick Dunn. One out later, Wivinis walked Nick Plummer and was replaced by Kyle Zurak , and Zurak got a groundout by Bryce Denton to end the game.


Olivaers (2-for-2, 2BB, R, SB) reached base four times, raising his on-base percentage to .372 - fourth-highest in the Florida State League. Florial (2-for-3, HR, BB, 3RBI, R) clubbed his seventh homer of the season, surpassing his 2018 total. Lopez (1-for-4, 2B, R) extended his season-best on-base streak to 10 games, and his hitting streak to five games.


The series continues on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., with RHP Janson Junk (3-6, 5.40) scheduled to face RHP Michael Baird (1-1, 0.00). Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.


On "2-for-1 Tuesday," fans can get buy-one, get-one free deals on lower reserved tickets, hot dogs, burgers, fries and nachos from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (2-for-1 tickets may only be purchased from the George M. Steinbrenner Field Box Office.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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