TAMPA - The Tampa Yankees (36-28) have now won six straight games after defeating the Clearwater Threshers (28-37) 4-1 on Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees continue to play well at home with a record of 26-7 in second half games played at GMS.
Caleb Smith (5-1) dealt a quality start en route to his fifth win of the season with Tampa. The southpaw pitched six scoreless frames, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out five.
The T-Yanks took a 2-0 lead in the second against RHP Mark Leiter. Mike Ford led off the frame with a double and advanced on a groundout by Jose Rosario. Trent Garrison then put Tampa on the board with an RBI single. One out later, Danny Oh reached on a fielding error by J.P. Crawford at shortstop and Mark Payton delivered an RBI single into right field.
Clearwater cut its deficit in half with a run off Ramon Benjamin in the seventh. Brian Pointer hit a leadoff double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Short.
Tampa immediately got that run back thanks to a solo blast by Ericson Leonora leading off the home half of the seventh.
Leiter (3-5) worked six and a third innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on 10 hits and a walk while striking out two.
Threshers' reliever Lino Martinez walked three consecutive batters to begin the eighth and a double-play groundout by Trent Garrison scored the final run for the Yankees.
RHP Cesar Vargas struck out the side in a perfect ninth to earn his 10th save with Tampa.
Payton went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Eric Jagielo also doubled in a 2-for-4 effort. Ford reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a run scored..
The series continues on Wednesday as the Tampa Yankees play their final home game of the regular season. RHP Brett Gerritse (5-7, 4.12 ERA) is scheduled to start for Tampa as Clearwater counters with RHP Jordan Guth (3-4, 2.60 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
Every Wednesday night Tampa Yankees home game, kids eat FREE! Kids 14 and under receive a coupon for a FREE scooter dog, cracker jacks, and small soda with the purchase of a reserved ticket ($5)! Also, kids run the bases after the game.